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									12   cOMPaSS                                                                                            SAP SPECTRUM   1 /2011




                CrossroAds
               As the car loses its mythical status, the transportation solutions of the future begin
                    to emerge – but this transformation can’t happen without the help of IT.
                                                Author: Sebastian Nikoloff
SAP SPECTRUM   1 /2011                                                                                                           cOMPaSS    13


A symbol of prosperity and indepen-               mobile, the first attempt to bring onto     Cars have never been a sound financial
 dence, the car embodies the dream of             the market a car that runs on alterna-      investment. A large family car loses al-
 adventure and discovery of the big wide          tive, nonfossil fuel. It finally emerged    most 30% of its value in the first two
 world. As the road movies of the sixties         as the Smart – and nearly flopped. Now,     years. That is a lot of money for a vehicle
 and seventies secured its mythical sta-          the Smart is not only an economic suc-      that spends 23 hours a day parked. Yet
 tus, the car became interwoven with our          cess, but a conceptual one as well. It is   the value of a car as a status symbol has
 identity. Keeping on the move became
 a way of life. Passing your driving test
 is still a rite of passage. Freedom is an
 open road.
    Now the future hardly looks so op-
                                                 75% Of all city traffic On satur-
 timistic: Oil reserves are running out.         days is due tO shOppers lOOking
There is increasing demand for cars
 in newly prosperous countries such as
                                                 fOr sOmewhere tO park.
 China and India. Our cities are grid-
 locked. And cars are known to have an
 impact on the environment.
    We pin our hopes on hydrogen cars,     proof that cars do not have to be as large         always outweighed purely financial con-
 hybrid cars, electric cars, whatever cars and as fast as possible – or, as Canzler           siderations. That is changing fast, espe-
– as long as we can carry on as before.    puts it, racing cars disguised as luxury           cially in Western cultures. Middle-class
If we give up our cars, we’ll be trapped   sedans.                                            city dwellers are attaching less impor-
 in one place with no means of escape.         The idea of using an alternative fuel          tance to the car. Now that almost every-
What will be left of our freedom? Or is    in the Smart was dropped early on, and it          one has one – the level of car ownership
 there another way?                        was given a conventional engine. Mean-             in OECD countries has never been so
                                           while, new suggestions for powering                high – they don’t seem so special. These
Rethinking the car                         cars came up: first, hydrogen fuel, then           days, consumers take a long, hard look
                                           hybrid engines, and finally electric ve-           at the costs of buying a car; they find an
It’s been clear for a long time that hicles. None seemed to be a reasonable                   iPhone more appealing than a Mini.
change is on the way. “Since the 1970s alternative to the internal combustion                     Half of all car rides made within cit-
oil crisis, people have realized that we engine: Who wants a hydrogen tank in                 ies are less than three miles – they would
can’t go on like this forever,” says Weert their trunk? Batteries are too heavy, and          be quicker by bicycle. Traveling by car is
Canzler, manager of the project group hybrid engines are only half a solution.                only really worthwhile for longer dis-
on mobility at the Social Science Re- So is the road running out for the car of               tances. Yet it’s often only a couple of
search Center in Berlin, Germany. The the twentieth century? At the moment,                   minutes faster than the bus and a good
nineties saw the arrival of the Swatch- there seems to be no replacement.                     deal more stressful. According to Ger-
                                                                                              many’s largest automobile club, up to
                                                                                              75% of all city traffic on Saturdays is due
                                                                                              to shoppers looking for somewhere to
                                                                                              park. Canzler says an increasingly mo-
                                                                                              bile society cannot organize itself this
Future Fleet: SaP’s electric car fleet                                                        way: “We are wasting energy, space, and
                                                                                              time. What we need is radical change.”
In mid-January, SAP in Germany kicked off a groundbreaking pilot project to
test 30 electric cars as part of the German government’s “Future Fleet” initia- New cars ?
tive. SAP and its partners want to find out how green the cars are, what the New business models !
drivers think of them, and how they use them. German electric utility MVV has
provided the charging stations. SAP has provided a software prototype that re- New fuels, increased battery capac-
cords the level of battery charge and how much the cars are used. The electric- ity, and standardized charging stations
ity comes from renewable energy sources.                                        are important innovations, but they
                                                                                              miss the point. “Putting new motors in
Some 450 SAP employees are taking part in the six-month trial, designed to find
                                                                                              cars doesn’t solve the problem,” says
out how we can make better use of cars, fuel, roads, and parking spaces.
                                                                                              Canzler. “Instead, the car of tomor-
                                                                                              row needs to be part of a new concept
      For more information about the German government’s Future Fleet initiative, see         that really delivers what we want when
      www.futurefleet.eu                                                                      we think of the car: convenient trans-
                                                                                              portation.” Or, in the words of Hervé
                                                                                              Couturier, manager of SAP’s research →
14   cOMPaSS                                                                                                     SAP SPECTRUM   1 /2011




                                                                         So if you think the debates about electric
                                           department: transportation as a service.
                                                                         cars are just about electric cars, you’re
                                          “People no longer want cars,” he says,
                                                                         mistaken. “The transportation of to-
                                          “they just want to get from A to B.”
                                                                         morrow is about much more than that,”
                                              They want access to a car when they
                                                                         says Canzler. It’s about innovation in
                                           need one, and access to other modes of
                                                                         technology and in business, as well as
                                           transportation that suit other needs at a
                                                                         new business models. It’s about how
                                           given time. Transportation as a service
                                                                         whole sectors of the economy can rein-
                                           will only work if all means of transpor-
                                                                         vent themselves to completely change
                                           tation are suitably networked. People
                                                                         the way we think about transportation.
                                           ultimately want to get from A to B as fast
                                                                            As an IT provider, SAP’s role in the
                                           and cheaply as possible, without trawl-
                                           ing through dozens of choices.new automobile revolution is clear: the
                                                                         system needs one main platform for
                               Integration on all levels                 all modes of transportation that can
                                                                         collate, aggregate, and analyze informa-
                              According to Couturier, there are three tion from various systems. “System inte-
                               challenges to making cars an integrated gration is our strength,” says Couturier.
                               and green mode of transportation. First, What about the components? “User-
                               in the case of renting electric cars, we friendly interfaces were not always our
                               need to know in real time how much strong point, but we have learned how
                               battery charge remains, where the car important they are, and this is some-
                               is, and whether someone has rented it. thing we can gain from.”
                               Transportation providers can help by         The “Future Fleet” project extends
                               handling each step from reservations to SAP’s focus on company car fleets. “We
                               billing.                                  have large, professionally structured
                                   The second challenge lies in creating systems,” says Couturier. These are eas-
                               IT and business models that make sense. ier to integrate, he explains, and their
                              All the processes in the chain have to lower total costs are more likely to at-
                               be kept simple. You need easy ways to tract companies than private individuals.
                               make reservations, pay, and integrate Although electric cars are cheaper to run,
                               various modes of transportation, such buying them is still very expensive.
                               as buses, trains, and electric cars.         But car manufacturers are also work-
                              And lastly, to support more electric cars ing on lowering prices. In Neu-Ulm,
                               on the roads, the system must offer a Germany, Daimler is investigating how
                                                                         to attract people who choose not to
                                                                         own a car. Instead of buying one, they
                                                                         can rent a Smart and have the bill sent
               the transpOrtatiOn Of tOmOrrOw                            to their cell phones. This is a new busi-
               is abOut innOvatiOn in technOlOgy ness model for Daimler, turning the car
                                                                         manufacturer into a service provider.
               and in business, as well as new
               business mOdels. — Weert Canzler                                         Cars as part of a smart grid
                                                                                     Electric utilities want in on the action,
                                                                                     too. With electric cars turning electricity
                                           level of convenience similar to that of into the gasoline of the future, charging
                                           having your own car. According to Cou- stations may eventually replace gas sta-
                                           turier, people should not have to walk tions. This promises lucrative business
                                           more than 500 yards to find the car they for utilities. German electric utility RWE
                                           want to rent. Also we should not un- has already begun to use television ad-
                                           derestimate the personal aspects of our vertising to present itself as the forerun-
                                           cars, he says: “Electric cars should not ner of electric transportation. In 2010, it
                                           be seen as rental cars.” The seat posi- ran a commercial featuring actors who
                                           tion, safety settings, music library, and had years before starred in commercials
                                           the most important destinations in the for a gas-station chain. If we all drive
                                           navigation system – these make us feel electric cars, then it is also important
                                           at home in the car.                       where the electricity comes from. If we
                                                                                            Advertisement
SAP SPECTRUM   1 /2011                                                                                                                     cOMPaSS   15


use oil or coal to generate the electricity   Skeptics are not convinced that the in-
to run our cars, we haven’t gained any-       ternal combustion engine will ever be
thing. Siemens has calculated that the        fully replaced. “That’s not what we’re
batteries of 400,000 electric vehicles        aiming to do,” says Canzler. So far, the
would have a storage power of eight           batteries are not ready for the market,
gigawatts – almost the entire output of       and they have to come down in price.
Germany’s six largest nuclear power           And by refusing to define standards, the
stations.                                     industry is putting up a barrier to its
   If integrated into the electricity net-    own success.
work, electric cars would enable us              Despite this, Canzler remains opti-
to store considerable amounts of en-          mistic that things are going in the right
ergy. This might present a way to store       direction. “We have to take all our ideas




electric cars may be the sOlutiOn,
if they are part Of an intelligent
electricity netwOrk and nOt just
electricity cOnsumers.

renewable energy when more is pro-            and think them through to the end. And
duced than consumed, and draw on this         in some ways we have to think bigger.”
energy when we need it. Companies                 It’s a rare opportunity for a radical
have been working on intelligent elec-        and innovative change. The car has far
tricity networks, called smart grids, that    from reached the end of the road – but
do this, but the huge batteries needed        it is in the process of losing its mythical
for a breakthrough have not been avail-       status. Now all we have to do is redefine
able. Electric cars could be the solution.    what freedom means to us.
They could be not just electricity con-
sumers, but part of an intelligent elec-
tricity network.
                                                                                                            ERP solutions
Overcoming resistance
                                                                                                            from one source
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To combine transportation and energy,                                                                       sub-systems for time and attendance,
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we need to overcome the challenge
                                                                                                            collection with SAP®.
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and communications. It’s easy to work                                                                       source for
out how much fuel a conventional car                                                                        •	 consulting
has used: if the tank is empty, then it’s                                                                   •	 project planning
empty. This is not the case for electric                                                                    •	 installation
cars. You can rent the car by the hour,                                                                     •	 training
recharge the battery at home if the sun                                                                     •	 maintenance and hotline service
is shining and the wind is blowing, and
run down the battery at night. This will
take high-performance IT systems that                                                                       Visit us:
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                                                                                                            01 - 05 March 2011
data as simply as possible so as not to                                                                     Hall 4, booth D04
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discourage consumers. Similar solu-
tions are already being used in the tele-                                                                   Kaba GmbH
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