The Auto Channel
The Largest Independent Automotive Research Resource
Official Website of the New Car Buyer

2009 Frankfurt Motor Show(IAA): Development Heads of All German Manufacturers Disclose Innovative Ways for Future Mobility


FRANKFURT AM MAIN--A premiere of a special kind was held on Wednesday at the 63rd International Automobile Fair . For the first time those responsible for development at all seven German automobile manufacturers – together with Matthias Wissmann, President of the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA) – presented the public with perspectives for future mobility and reported on the impressive innovations of the manufacturers with respect to safety and the environment.

The press conference entitled “Innovative Technologies – the way of the German Automobile industry” demonstrated that all German manufacturers are working intensively to reduce the CO2 emissions of new vehicles in the future. With VDA President Wissmann on the podium were representatives of all German manufacturers. Michael Dick, board member of Audi AG, Technical Development; Dr.-Ing. Klaus Draeger, board member of BMW AG, Development; Dr. Thomas Weber, board member of Daimler AG, Group Research & Mercedes-Benz Cars Development; Joseph Bakaj, Vice President, Product Development, Ford of Europe; Hans Demant, Vice President Development, General Motors Europe and Chairman of the Board of Adam Opel GmbH; Wolfgang Dürheimer, board member of Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG, Research and Development; as well as Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg, member of the board of Volkswagen Brand for the “Development” business area.

“The umbrella of the VDA offers the opportunity for all seven development boards of our manufacturers to appear together for the first time, to present their innovative technologies”, said VDA President Wissmann. “The IAA is the best platform for this as the 100 world premieres for manufacturers alone, as well as the many innovatory products from suppliers, which are present in numbers not previously seen at this most important international mobility fair, emphasize that there is not just a single ‘Royal way’ for future technology, but that it is a ‘search process’, for which an intensely competitive market offers optimal conditions for achieving results that are technologically, economically and ecologically convincing.”

The presentation concentrated in particular on the medium and long-term perspectives. What will be the leading type of drive in the future? When will the electric motor replace the classic internal combustion engine, which for over 100 years has been a success story without parallel? In addition to environmental aspects the subject of safety was also dealt with. What are the next milestones on the way to “accident free driving”? And finally the question was raised, what steps are the German automobile manufacturers taking to maintain and extend their excellent position on international markets in the future?

“Our aims are extremely demanding. We are oriented towards sustainable mobility that both protects the environment and is attractive and affordable for the customer. And we are doing everything to ensure that the accident rate falls further. The vision is accident-free driving”, emphasized Wissmann. Both aims – environment and safety – can only be achieved step by step: “These are tasks that would tax a long-distance runner rather than a 100 meter printer.”

The German automobile industry has good reason to be proud of what has been achieved so far. In the past ten years alone the number of traffic deaths has fallen by over 40 percent. Wissmann: “Naturally every accident victim is one too many, but it cannot be disputed that driving today is safer than it ever was.” The VDA president also pointed out that since the early 90’s the German automobile industry has reduced the average fuel consumption of newly registered vehicles by more than a quarter. “And as this IAA demonstrates, we are not easing up on our efforts to reduce CO2, on the contrary. According to official figures of the Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA) German marques on the domestic automobile market have in nine out of ten automobile sectors an average CO2 value that is noticeably lower than imported vehicles.”

Michael Dick of Audi emphasized that in Audi’s view there is no alternative to electric power. Its potential will be developed in successive steps. According to Dick lightweight construction and efficiency technologies will play a central role in the further optimization of electrical vehicles. What will be decisive are advances in battery technology. “It is our aspiration, just as we currently use every drop of fuel in the optimum fashion, to use every kilowatt of current for optimal movement, comfort, safety and driving pleasure.” For sustained mobility it is necessary to use all technological skills judiciously to increase efficiency, downsizing and lightweight construction across the full range of transmission technologies. “At Audi we have a leading role in all core technologies, and with its technological lead Audi will make an important contribution in all areas.”

Dr. Klaus Draeger of BMW explained the “intelligent energy management” of BMW and the CO2 reductions achieved by the EfficientDynamics vehicles of BMW. The most modern electrical drive concepts would in future be combined with an extremely economic 3 cylinder turbo-diesel engine. BMW stands for individual mobility in various forms with various requirements. “The pleasure of driving and sustainability are not mutually exclusive, but depend on each other”, stressed Dr. Draeger.

Dr. Thomas Weber of Daimler emphasized: “We view electrical mobility as an important building block in the drive mix for sustainable mobility.” In addition to the HighTech internal combustion engines it is particularly necessary to promote these innovative technologies for electrical mobility currently being developed in Germany. In this respect the Lithium Ion battery is a key technology. In addition the setting up of the appropriate infrastructure requires the close cooperation of industry, politics, science and energy suppliers. With the "H2 Mobility" initiative for setting up a nationwide hydrogen refueling station network, Daimler has established an important milestone for electrically-powered driving with fuel cells.

Joseph Bakaj of Ford stressed that his company would soon introduce a lightweight, electrically-driven commercial vehicle onto the market in the USA. In two years time Ford would also introduce an electrical compact automobile with lithium-Ion batteries onto the US market. Not all the technical problems have been solved of course, but Ford will be in the front rank of those manufacturers that are introducing electrical automobiles, even if it is initially not a question of great numbers. In the area of low fuel consumption//CO2 fuel economy technologies Ford is following “parallel paths”. For diesel the catchphrase is “ECOnetic”, for petrol engines “EcoBoost” with direct injection, downsizing and turbo-charging.

Hans Demant of Opel emphasized that the path to the electrification of automobiles, starting with current hybrids, runs via plug-in hybrids to electrical vehicles with increased range such as Opel Ampera. It is a question of the symbiosis of the current internal combustion engines and future electrical drive: “We are striving for environmental friendliness without sacrifice.” In the development of the hydrogen drive the German automobile industry has a lead in development that needs to be further expanded. “The fuel cell and electrical mobility complement each other”, according to Demant. For safety Opel is relying on intelligent assistance systems.

Wolfgang Dürheimer of Porsche drew attention to the new catchphrase of his company, used for the first time at the IAA: “Performance requires efficiency”. It is precisely in the “high performance range” of the internal combustion engine where there is potential for fuel economy. This includes, amongst other things, direct injection of petrol in conjunction with double clutch gearboxes. Dürheimer also sees further “internal fuel economy potential” for the internal combustion engine, including optimization of friction. The electronic control and assistance systems could further reduce the load on the driver, he explained, with respect to advances in driving safety.

Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg of Volkswagen detected a trend for downsizing of internal combustion engines, where “driving satisfaction and efficiency complement each other”. This also includes the catchphrase “Environmental friendliness without sacrifice”. He pointed to the potential of various forms of fuel, including natural gas, petrol, diesel, sunfuel and synfuel. In particular the potential of clean diesel should not be underestimated. Dr. Hackenberg sees a clear trend in the electrification of the drive. This includes the progression from hybrid to pure electric vehicle.

Finally VDA-Präsident Wissmann stressed that: “This IAA shows that efficiency, climate protection and driving satisfaction are not mutually exclusive. And if is done intelligently, we will not only protect the environment, but also the driver’s wallet at the pump. This industry is following new routes to enable sustainable individual mobility for citizens in a future where fossil fuels will become ever more scarce and expensive. We are making every effort to further develop our technological lead.“