Text: Eric Tipan / Photos: | posted January 30, 2014 08:53
Renault-Nissan Alliance Chairman and CEO writes an Op-Ed piece about focusing on safety, the environment and affordability of cars in the future.
Carlos Ghosn was recently at the 2014 World Economic Forum in Davos, a gathering of economic and political leaders, and heads of the academe to help shape a better future for the world, and he shared his thoughts on what the future of cars should be.
According to Ghosn, automobiles have brought its fair share of good and bad elements and after centuries of thriving from the benefits it provides through mobility and to the economy, we have also started experiencing the negative effects of our over-reliance to it.
CO2 emissions, dependence on fossil fuel and the traffic congestion vehicles have caused are now a major concern for people around the world. Automobile manufacturers have taken huge steps towards electric and hybrid-powered vehicles, and autonomous driving systems but Ghosn wants a more concerted effort and has laid down a preliminary roadmap for the future of cars.
He pinpoints three major issues that need to be addressed to be able to harness the positive effects of using vehicles without suffering through its ill-effects. These are safety, the environment and affordability.
As the Chairman and CEO of the Renault-Nissan Alliance, Ghosn says manufacturers can’t do it alone and will need the cooperation of the government and other industries to achieve this goal.
Safety is one aspect governments around the world can lean on. Statistics have shown that the number of accidents is not directly proportional to the number of vehicles on the road.
“Every day, more than 3,000 people die in auto-related accidents around the world. Ninety-one percent of the world’s road fatalities occur in lower-income countries, even though they only account for about half of the world’s vehicles.
“For example, France has four times more vehicles than India, but India has 20 times more road-related deaths.
“In Europe, the number of road deaths has been cut in half while the number of vehicles over the same period has doubled. Technologies such as anti-lock brakes, airbags and electronic stability control have contributed the most to the reduction in road deaths,” writes Ghosn.
Renault-Nissan, Toyota, Audi, Ford and so many other automakers have partnered with different sectors of society – from third-party suppliers to the academe – just to gather as much information to help develop autonomous driving.
The Environment, along with every other living thing on Earth, has been affected by constant use of vehicles.
“The Alliance invested more than EUR 4 billion in zero-emissions technologies and is the only auto group that mass produces a full line of zero-emission cars and light commercial vehicles. Together, Renault and Nissan have sold more than 100,000 of these vehicles worldwide – more than all of the other major carmakers combined,” said Ghosn.
Power suppliers around the world can help make this more feasible by gearing their efforts towards more charging stations for these alternative-fuel vehicles.
The last is Affordability. Brazil, Russia, India and China now make up 35 percent of the automobile industry’s volume. This can be attributed to competitive pricing making vehicles affordable to emerging markets around the world.
In conclusion, Ghosn adds “We should not forget the important role that the automobile has played in driving economic growth and freedom of mobility for more than 100 years. If today’s global automotive industry was a country, it would be the world’s sixth largest economy – greater than the GDP of Brazil – and account for more than 50 million jobs.
Our challenge is to ensure that the automobile remains a vehicle for progress and prosperity around the world well into the 21st century.
In partnership with other carmakers, industries and governments, we have the capability to reinvent the car for a new era, to provide sustainable mobility for all.”