Interview with Professor Dr. Günther Schuh

Freudenberg Forum: Future of Mobility

What will future mobility look like? In addition to his professorship at RWTH Aachen University, Professor Dr. Günther Schuh was also involved in the invention of the Street Scooter, is founder and CEO of e.GO Mobile AG and one of the leading German engineers for innovative mobility concepts. As part of the Freudenberg Forum: Future of Mobility, Schuh spoke about the challenges and possibilities – but also the opportunities facing automotive suppliers.

Professor Schuh, what do you expect from a modern automotive supplier?

Professor Dr. Günther Schuh: “The German automotive suppliers have always been the actual “enablers” of the automobile industry and I see them as decisive bridgebuilders. They have internalized the old technologies and can continue to improve upon them, while also acting as first movers for some new technologies. In doing so, they are pushing the big players into the future.

So the role of suppliers like Freudenberg will expand?

“Without the auto industry suppliers, many of today’s newly designed vehicles would not be able to drive. We desperately need companies with a wide range of competencies. The Freudenberg Group is a multi-technology company that covers the entire spectrum – and we must manage the balancing act of the powertrain mix. The future will see a mix of drive types.”

In addition to his professorship at RWTH Aachen University, Professor Dr. Günther Schuh was also involved in the invention of the Street Scooter, is founder and CEO of e.GO Mobile AG and one of the leading German engineers for innovative mobility concepts.
 

How fast will the shift to new mobility occur?

“The change in the mobility sector could be much faster than some conservative estimates are forecasting – I also think it has to happen faster.”

What do you see as the most significant changes?

“A lot will change, particularly in the cities, creating the need for new vehicle categories – such as People Movers or Cargo Movers. I see a huge opportunity for newcomers – as we proved with our Street Scooters and e.GO.”

So we are going to see a competition between newcomers and established companies?

“The market will produce many new manufacturers. But I am not worried; the established companies have long been working on good concepts. The smaller companies have the advantage of speed.”

Which drive type should companies focus on?

“A clever decision would be to assume that we are going to have a mix of products that cover a broad spectrum. I do not think focusing on one sector makes sense. Everything will be needed: internal combustion engines, electromobility and fuel cells – a large portfolio is vital.”

How can a new vehicle succeed?

“Success is not that difficult. You simply need access to individual partners such as suppliers. We collaborate on innovation and research projects. If you have a good concept in mind, these partners will work with you. The key is a passion for innovation.”

What will the car of the future look like?

“The car of the future needs to be simple to operate, tolerate multiple drives, retain its value, have a solid design-to-cost ratio while also integrating digital components.”