#28 MAHLE chargeBIG: EV Charging or "Leading by Example"

Episode 34 March 22, 2023 00:43:25
#28 MAHLE chargeBIG: EV Charging or "Leading by Example"
Smart in the City – The BABLE Podcast
#28 MAHLE chargeBIG: EV Charging or "Leading by Example"

Mar 22 2023 | 00:43:25


Hosted By

Tamlyn Shimizu

Show Notes

For this episode, we sat down in Stuttgart, Germany with our guests Sebastian Ewert, CEO and Founder of MAHLE chargeBIG, and Alexander Schmidt, our CEO and Founder at BABLE. With them, we discussed electric vehicles, EV charging infrastructures, and the future of urban mobility in general.


Overview of the episode:

02:47 - Teaser: Imagine Stuttgart in 2050. Are there cars, and what does it look like?

04:18 - Who is Sebastian and what is MAHLE chargeBIG?

09:40 - What does the future of electric charging look like?

14:43 - How have the discussions changed over electric vehicles and charging in the past 12 years?

19:02 - What is the political environment around EV charging in Germany and in the EU?

21:14 - What do you say to people that still say that electric vehicles are not the solution to urban mobility challenges and that they still cause congestion, etc.? What about the impact of batteries etc. on the environment?

26:37 - How can we accelerate the transition to electric mobility?


36:25 - What Would You Do: what would our guests do if they were a minister of transport?

41:26 - Ending Question: To you, what is a Smart City?


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Episode Transcript

Tamlyn Shimizu 00:00:06 Welcome to Smart in the City, the BABLE Podcast, where we bring together top actors in the smart city arena, sparking dialogues and interactions around the stakeholders and themes most prevalent for today's citizens and tomorrow's generations. I am your host, Tamlyn Shimizu, and I hope that you'll enjoy this episode and gain knowledge and connections to drive the change for a better urban life. Smart in the city is brought to you by BABLE Smart Cities. We enable processes from research and strategy development to co-creation and implementation. To learn more about us, please visit the BABLE platform at bable-smartcities.eu. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:00:46 Now, just a short intermission to let you know of a small opportunity. Are you interested in a site visit to Doll Living Lab in Copenhagen, combined with the BABLE Interactive capacity-building session? Well, we are teaming up with Doll to offer a full experience package. So for more information, just book a call with us and we'll tell you all about it. Uh, you can find the link in the show notes now onto the regular programming. So today we are all sitting in the lovely city and headquarters of BABLE, Stuttgart, Germany. And, um, it's also home of our guests here too. So luckily we could all sit in the same room together and join in person. So, um, Stuttgart is a place that you might yeah, think of synonymously with cars and the automobile industry, if you know anything about Germany and this area. Um, so we're gonna dive into this topic and more so yeah, gear up. So without further ado, I would like to welcome our first guest. His name is Sebastian Ewert, the CEO and founder of MAHLE chargeBIG. Welcome onto the show, Sebastian. Sebastian Ewert 00:01:55 Thanks for having me. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:01:57 Our pleasure. So, I also get to welcome, if, if you're one of our like original listeners, you might, I can't remember which episode it was, uh, to be honest, but you might recognize this voice. He is our c e o and founder at BABLE Smart Cities. Alex Schmidt, welcome, Alexander Schmidt 00:02:14 <laugh>, always a pleasure to be with you, Tamlyn Tamlyn Shimizu 00:02:16 Always a pleasure. Um, and so, uh, yeah, I, I couldn't think of two better people to talk about e-charging with me today. So, before starting BABLE, Alex, you were involved in kind of the first phase of electric infrastructure rollout of charging stations in Germany, um, and you were also handling the fund that built the first 200 fast charging locations, if I'm not mistaken. Yes. Alexander Schmidt 00:02:42 That, that is correct. It feels like a different life, but it's, it's now about 12 years ago was a very interesting time. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:02:47 So one of the OGs, um, and I'm really interested to hear about your background too, Sebastian. Um, but we're gonna get into that in just a minute. So I want, I, I always start off with a little teaser to get our brains flowing and all of that good stuff. So, uh, imagine the, the teaser is imagine Stuttgart in 2050. Are there cars and what does it look like? Sebastian Ewert 00:03:12 I am pretty sure that in 2050 in Stuttgart, there are cars. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> circuits too much driven by automotive industry to, to not have cars here, but I'm pretty sure they won't be in the focus anymore, so much as it is today. I'm pretty sure a lot of them will drive underground. A lot of them will, will be parked in very clever parking solutions. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, all of them will be electric, of course. And, uh, hopefully we have better public transport on Stuttgart so that you don't need your car any day, any day anymore. Yeah. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:03:44 Yeah. Yeah. Sounds good. Alex, do you have a different vision? Alexander Schmidt 00:03:48 Hmm. Well, it goes in the same direction, right? So 2050. When did Minority Report play the Tom Cruise movie? There were still cars there, so I think, uh, um, there will be cars around, but oh, I also agree there will be, will be less, it'll all be looking different, and I hope everything is centered more around people and less around around vehicles. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:04:04 What about this underground thing that Sebastian mentioned, do you think? Alexander Schmidt 00:04:07 Well, I don't think we, we should talk about digging tunnels here in Stuttgart too much <laugh>, um, uh, but, um, let's, uh, it's, it's a, it's a viable option and, uh, let's see. Let's see where we are heading. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:04:18 Yeah, yeah, sounds good. Sounds good. I, I feel like I should ask that of every guest on here. Like what does, what do you envision this city looking like in 2050 or, um, 2100, I guess. Um, so Sebastian, I, I want to dig in and give our listeners a bit of insight into who you are, who your background, who is MAHLE chargeBIG? What's the story? Sebastian Ewert 00:04:42 Who am I? I'm a guy. I have a daughter. I'm married. I live in Stuttgart. I'm not from Stuttgart. I'm from the Warga beat. Uh, you should know the Orga beat, a very important part of Germany. And, uh, I was a petrolhead before, so I studied at Art University because I loved combustion engines. I did, uh, cart racing, being young, and, um, yeah, that's why I came to Stuttgart, uh, to work for Marla as an automotive supplier. I'm pretty, I was sure that it is much more interesting to work for an automotive supplier than for the OEM themselves, because they just assemble parts. They don't produce parts as such. At least that was my impression back then, 15 years ago when I came to stcu. And, um, I did, um, at Mala, um, corporate r and d I worked in project management. I, uh, had quite some management experience, did an mechanical engineer and <inaudible> did an MBA later in parallel to my job. And yeah, about 12 years ago, I realized maybe there was something else in terms of propulsion, not just burning fossil fuels, but maybe electric. We started with that at Marla, and I enjoyed that quite a lot. I bought the first cast, the first charging infrastructure, and, um, yeah, that's how I came into contact with electric mobility. And, um, yeah, then, then I wanted to prefill my midlife crisis Sebastian Ewert 00:06:04 <laugh>. So I asked my wife, uh, if I, uh, can buy a Porsche and if she would give me half of the money necessary for that, because I couldn't afford a Porsche myself. And she said, no, Tamlyn Shimizu 00:06:15 <laugh>. Sebastian Ewert 00:06:15 So what to do? I worked a lot. Uh, I invested quite some time during my work in Marla, in Electromobility, and I said, okay, then I buy another, I buy my first electric vehicle because everything else might not be interesting for me. So I bought the poor man's Tesla, uh, Renault Zoey. And, uh, that was 10 years ago, and I enjoyed that a lot. I, uh, was the first at every traffic, uh, light. Uh, when it goes green, you are the first in, in line all the time because electro mobility is quite fun, even with Zui. And, um, yeah, during, uh, that time I realized that electro mobility might be the future. And then a few years later, we, uh, we, about five, six years ago, when you read newspapers, they still have the opinion, there will not be any electric mobility dominating because our grids are not capable. Sebastian Ewert 00:07:09 We don't have batteries, uh, it's too expensive and so on. And I realized with my renzo, I illegally charged my at, uh, at my socket, but at a socket in, uh, a mar um, tenant home. And I realized that's good enough for, for charging vehicles. So smart charging is good enough. You don't need to charge as fast as possible over time, as fast as necessary. And, um, yeah, six years ago, I, I then decided charging infrastructure needs to look different to be able to scale up, to be able to electrify mobility. And we couldn't find it on the market. We couldn't find a proper solution in terms of what do you have to do if you want to equal parking and charging? A lot of OEMs talked about, uh, uh, refueling equals charging. So, um, high power charging as fast as possible for long distance travel, of course. But usually you park your vehicle 23 hours a day, you drive one hour, you drive 40 kilometers an average. So if you equal parking and charging, you just need a few hundred watts. You cannot even charge so slow from, uh, based on the norms for vehicle communication. So, uh, yeah, that's when we invented Charge big six years ago. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:08:25 Wow. What a story. Um, I, I got my first electric car, uh, like less than a year ago. Um, and it was a, a tweezing, you know, those cars? Yes, Sebastian Ewert 00:08:35 I do Tamlyn Shimizu 00:08:35 <laugh>. So I don't know if you properly call it a car, but it's, it's actually quite fun too. So Sebastian Ewert 00:08:42 It's fun. Uh, we, we have, uh, a few tweezers at Mala, the, uh, electric motors from Mala in these vehicles. Mm. Yeah. So, um, but it's not really a car. No, it's not comfy at all. And, uh, I drove it for a few, few days. Um, Tamlyn Shimizu 00:08:56 It is not meant for long distance, right, <laugh>, it's just meant to, uh, go around the block <laugh>, Sebastian Ewert 00:09:01 And if you have back pain, you shouldn't drive it either. So yes, Tamlyn Shimizu 00:09:03 Alex fit in one of those. Alexander Schmidt 00:09:05 I did, I drove them for, uh, for a bit. We had them as, uh, company cars. It, uh, frown Hoover still, so mm-hmm. <affirmative>, um, uh, before Bob, they were lots of fun. We had some, and as you, you said you were, uh, car driving as a, it always feels like car driving, these, these kinds, kinds of cars. And, um, uh, yeah, we did some lovely races, um, in the outskirts of cut with them. <laugh> don't do that a lot in winter, though. Yes, Tamlyn Shimizu 00:09:29 <laugh> <laugh>, it's, it's not a winter car either, or winter vehicle. Um, also for, for perspective, for the listeners who haven't seen Alex, how tall are you? Alexander Schmidt 00:09:38 Oh, thank you for that. <laugh>. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:09:40 <laugh>. He's a tall one. Okay. So, um, yeah. Good. Yeah, thanks so much for, for giving us a background. So you said a little bit about what the future of Stu Art looks like to you. Um, can you talk a little bit about what the future of electric charging looks like to you? Sebastian Ewert 00:09:58 Um, I think for electric charging it, it needs to fit to the application. And, um, if you talk about parking, and that's the today's focus of charge big, um, you need to have a lot of charging points. Um, I usually, I say you cannot save the, the boat if you just put a charging point in front of the mayor's office. That's what we have today. In a lot of cities, you have, uh, one charging station, two charging points in front of the mayor's office, and with that, you cannot scale up. They are very expensive. And, uh, usually it's blocked by the mayor's car. So, uh, that's, uh, what you still have today. Sometimes, and from my point of view, we have to find a way that, um, charging points for destination charging are just available in a huge amount at public charging, private charging at work, at the airport, uh, wherever you need it. Sebastian Ewert 00:10:51 And of course, it needs to fit to the application. Uh, if you park your vehicle for four hours or for eight hours, or 10 hours or for two weeks at the airport, um, you don't need to have a high charging power. You stress the grid, you stress the battery, you need a lot of copper to be able to get the power for me to be, so it makes much more sense to have proper charging infrastructure. So for that destination charging might be just two to seven kilowatt good enough. But if you're at a supermarket and you just park half an hour, uh, it, the, the pluck in process needs to make sense. It needs to be worth the while. So, um, of course, you then need to charge faster, maybe 50 kilowatt if you go for long distance travel, if you drive, uh, 500 kilometers from stuga tore now do that quite often. So that's why I have quite some experience with that. Of course, you want to charge as fast as possible. And today with my vehicle, it's just 150 kilowatt. We have charging infrastructure with up to 300 kilowatt. We have vehicles that are capable of up to 270 kilowatt, and the future might be 750 kilowatt. That's what I have in the back of my head for future high power charging. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:12:00 And Alex, do you have the same vision? Alexander Schmidt 00:12:03 Oh, wow, <laugh>, no. Maybe, maybe just on, on some of the terms, right? Because I, I think the orders of magnitude there are super, super interesting, right? So two kilowatt is what you get out of a normal pluck, right? So this is what your laptop, phone, everything, uh, charges from the, the, the high power ones you mentioned the ones on the motorways now 150 to potentially in the future 750 kilowatts. We are talking, that's, that's the, that's the power a, the, a small neighborhood or 750, a bigger neighborhood actually pulls from the grid and, and its peak times, right? So these are just massive increases and, and, uh, stressors, um, on the grid, talking now about the vision and how this might, um, uh, might be in the future destination charging this, you know, you go somewhere and while you do something else, you know, you are home, you sleep, or you are at work, um, while you do that, the car is charging. Alexander Schmidt 00:12:54 That's something super cool, right? Because you always start your journey with then a full car again. And that's something that, you know, we all have to understand. So I'm driving electric cars now for also a decades. So I'm, it might be a year or so, uh, after you, but it's, it's just this, this is something that we are not used to with, uh, with petrol vehicles, right? Because there, you always have to do this extra trip to the, uh, to the fueling station, but every time you come from a destination charger, you have done your thing, you don't do another trip, you come out with a, um, a fully charged vehicle, and yes, it might just be 300 or 400 or now 500 kilometers that you can drive, but how often do you do that on a, on a daily basis? I don't do that, um, um, too often. Alexander Schmidt 00:13:38 But that of course means that you need lots of them. And that's what, what you mentioned earlier with the scale, that's a super interesting one. I remember one of the very early studies from this, um, uh, the German state had this entity, a mixture of research, um, a big companies, but also, um, uh, smaller companies that help them identify the need for charging infrastructure. I think it was just stopped, I think two, two years or so ago. Um, and in their very first study, and I hope I remember that number right, they said, for every car we need one to 1.5 destination chargers. So that means we have about 50 million vehicles in Germany, over 300 million in Europe. That tells you just a sheer amount of destination charges, um, uh, that, that you need. And you know, in Germany we are talking about public charges, half a million, maybe a million, um, uh, at some point. So the order of magnitude is like no 50 times, um, what we need in destination to artists and what we need in, uh, public charters. So I find this a very interesting topic to, to talk about. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:14:43 Yeah, absolutely. Thanks to you both for that perspective. Um, Alex also, um, so over the last 12 years, actually, I actually, I want to hear from Sebastian on this too, but where has this progression in the discussions about e charging changed over, um, yeah, over the last twelve-ish years, right? Um, at the beginning, uh, I don't know if it's such a good solution, and now to the point we're at now, how have you seen that progression? Um, whoever wants to start, Alex, go ahead. Alexander Schmidt 00:15:13 No, I think what has changed massively was that decade ago we were all discussing if electric mobility is gonna be the next thing, and if we even know the infrastructure and need the infrastructure mm-hmm. <affirmative>, if this is actually becoming a thing, if it is the right solution. Now we are only talking about the how and how quickly scale, quickly scale, exactly how fast we can scale these kinds of things. There are still issues with it. Nothing is perfect, right? Um, uh, there are lots of negative articles as always goes quickly, um, to, to a negative use just spread, um, uh, faster. But, you know, at that point, you know, you had the Zoe, you, you said earlier, so there were a handful of vehicles available. Now, there are so many vehicles, um, uh, available, um, that you can choose from. There is, everywhere you go, there is, there is charges. I went skiing, um, after Christmas with my brother and we both, so I had a rental car and he had his own car, both electric. We both, we had no problem whatsoever to go anywhere we wanted. Yeah. And then that wouldn't have been possible a decade ago. So, um, there's still way to go. Uh, but it's, it's, it's now just a way of how and how fast, not an if Tamlyn Shimizu 00:16:18 Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, what do I Sebastian Ewert 00:16:20 Mean? Yeah. I, I fully agree to that. The discussion is very different today talking about vehicles and talking about charging infrastructure. And I have, I still have in my mind, five years ago I drove to Frankfurt. I met, uh, the, um, part of the mention board of a big bank. He was, uh, responsible for all of the, uh, buildings they had in Frankfurt. And I, I pitched my product there, and he said I wanted to sell him a charge big system. And he said, it's the best solution I've ever seen. It's great. I, I drive a b bmw, I three, I, I like electric mobility, but I just need two charging points. And I couldn't afford it because I have 10 buildings in Frankfurt. And if I would install, uh, a charge big system in each of them, I need millions. I don't have that. Sebastian Ewert 00:17:05 So, uh, you don't have these discussions today anymore. They realize that it's not good enough to have just, uh, one or two. They, they think about, um, dozens. We, today we have customers. They ask us, what is your, uh, what is the size of your system? And I say, you can have from 15 to open end, a hundred thousand, whatever you like charging points per site. And they say, okay, and what makes sense from a, a cost point of view? I say, it's a 36 cabinet, so 36 charging points per cabinet. And they say, sounds great. I take three of them, and then we have a hundred charging points per site, and we have more and more discussions like that, and that's what we need. We see that in, in our own parking garage at Marla headquarters in 2019. I went to an OEM and said, this is what we are doing, and we are building up the first site now at Marla, and, uh, we'd like to go for, for, um, a hundred charging points. Sebastian Ewert 00:17:59 And he said, no one can do that. And I said, we'll, prove, prove you wrong. We can do it. I had the same discussion with my management board back then, and they said, who needs a hundred charging point in 2019, four years ago? And I said, I don't mind. I want to put a hundred charging points there because I invite press, I invite the government, uh, and, uh, I want to have a, a figure that makes sense, that gets, uh, a reach and that no one else has in, in great area of stut. And so we build up a hundred charging points, and today we have more than 60, 70% occupancy rate. So we have a huge amount of, we almost charge a megawatt hour a day in that parking garage, uh, with all the employees. The employees call me and say, Hey, how does it work? And, um, how long can we use it? And, uh, can I buy electric vehicle if I can only charge at work? And I say, of course, you can. As long as I'm at Mala, you can charge in our parking garage. And so we solved the hand and egg problem with just a hundred charging points at Mala headquarters. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:19:02 Wow. Um, and, and do you think that this, the politics in, in Germany and in the EU are, are supporting this right now? Or what is the political environment that you're seeing around this? Sebastian Ewert 00:19:14 Yes, I think so. Of course you have, uh, different opinions at the moment. We have quite, again, a, a different opinion from all others in, in the German government in Berlin. Uh, that might not help the discussion. But, um, in the end, from, from all parties, you hear in average the same, the the same comments. We need to invest in that we need to scale it up. We see what happens in with, uh, startups in the us. Uh, we had Tesla before. We have lucid and rivian, now we see what comes from China with, uh, Neo and B y D. So, um, we, and even the German, the European automotive industry invests tens, tens of billions of euros into that. So it needs to be successful because of the OEMs and suppliers. They cannot just depreciate their investments. Electric mobility will come because we already invested too much money into that. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:20:07 Have any thoughts on that, Alex as well? Any additions? Well, Alexander Schmidt 00:20:11 Again, no, it's, it's not an if anymore, right? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, it's, it's, it's an, it's, it's really an, an how fast, um, this is going. And I think it's, it's, it's been a political topic at the beginning, um, um, how to move, um, these things forward, having the right, um, you know, uh, legal frameworks also having the right standards and these kinds of things. But then, you know, that really the economic facilitators, uh, came in when the, the big ones started in investing. Also, cars became much more viable, much more affordable. Charging was much more available. So these, these, these things are lots of elements all from the, you know, social environmental perspective, early from the political perspective. But now a lot are economic drivers in, uh, in, in this market. So it's, it's a good storm, um, uh, coming, coming together there. So again, it's not an, it's not an, if it's, it's, it's how fast, Tamlyn Shimizu 00:21:04 Uh, what kind of storm <laugh> that was a question. A good, you mean a good storm? Alexander Schmidt 00:21:10 Yeah. Yeah. Well, that, that was my intended to note on that one <laugh>, Tamlyn Shimizu 00:21:14 So, yeah. Yeah. Makes sense. Um, so what do you think, um, so I, I hear the electric, like i I, in, in smart cities, you know, you, we, we take a quite holistic approach to, to what we talk about and what we're discussing. So I have people on here who are really advocating for more bicycling, and I have people on here who are, um, who might say, um, but this doesn't solve the urban congestion, uh, problem. Um, or people saying, Hey, the batteries, um, for electric cars are not so good for the environment still. Um, what would both of you say to those kind of criticisms of it? Sebastian, Sebastian Ewert 00:21:56 Nothing is perfect. And if you talk about emission free, we have to stop breathing because at the moment, we, every time you, you breathe out, you have emit a lot of co2 mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So at the end of the day, we have to think in cycles. And how do we do it? We have to limit our consumption in terms of resources. We have to optimize that, we have to recycle that, and of course, we sh we should keep breathing as a, as a human beings. And so I had a very interesting discussion with a colleague of mine from, from research, and he said, I drive my bike. I don't drive an electric car because it's much more, uh, environmental, um, feasible. And I said, no, it's not because you eat too much meat. If you consume a lot of meat and then drive your bicycle, you emit a lot of CO2 emissions. Sebastian Ewert 00:22:43 So if you want to be perfect, you have to be vegan and then drive your bicycle, but you might not get enough calories to be able to drive your bicycle. So it's, uh, nothing is perfect, and even you can criticize riding a bike, but, um, in terms of electric mobility, you don't, you don't have any local emissions. That's a big advantage. Then if we get the energy trans transformation done properly, we don't have any emissions at all in terms of operating these vehicles. Then we can talk about, um, of course the resources, uh, you need. I had a very interesting discussion regarding recycling. And if you talk about combustion engines, you have, uh, threeway catheters. So you have your exhaust after treatment, and you have your, your components in the vehicle. Your catalyst is about worth 50 euros just due to the, the, the metals in that. Sebastian Ewert 00:23:38 And 99.9% of them are recycled at the moment. We even have a lot of issues that they are stolen in the field because people use that. So 50 euros in a part and 99.9% recycling rate, a battery of electric vehicle is more than 2000 euros. Just from the, the, the, the metals, the components in there in terms of recycling the problem at the moment, just we don't have enough batteries that we can recycle properly. It doesn't scale up because they don't break. That's what we have at the moment in terms of electric mobility. And so there will be an industry as soon as we have enough broken batteries from electric vehicles, and that's the only reason why it doesn't kick up at, at the moment. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:24:18 So everyone should go break their batteries. <laugh>, that's what I got from your story. No, I'm just kidding. Um, but Alex, do you have a thought on that? What do you say to the critics? Alexander Schmidt 00:24:31 Well, fir, first of all, I'm, I'm sure that the cities are living in the future and that I'm already living in also your instructor, they will have less cars in the, in the future. That's also not an if, uh, uh, uh, anymore because we are giving the public space back to the people, and that's the right thing to do. Uh, and, um, we would all be happy. So I'm very happy if my daughter and we, and, uh, with your daughter, I assume too, that they can safely cycle and walk in, in the whole city without the dangers of having cars around. So I think this is a very, very important step to take, but there will still be cars around, right? So, um, mm-hmm. <affirmative>, um, I have known a car in 11 years mm-hmm. <affirmative>, but I still use them, right? So they're the shared vehicles. Alexander Schmidt 00:25:14 We have lots of those instructor for any kind of, uh, purpose. And sometimes it's just the, the, the thing that you need to get something them to, to, to, um, uh, to go buy something, to do a trip to a, uh, to a fun park or whatever. It's, it's the best, um, way, the best mo mode of transport, uh, to go there. And those vehicles then need to be cleaner than they are now, because that's the thing, as you said, no, nothing is perfect, but there needs to be progress in everything we are doing, right? So the, um, for local emissions, the electric cars are much better than the combustion engine cars. So tick box on, on that one. Now, there is an issue with, because if you look at the sites, um, where they get the raw materials in, uh, in unfortunately lots of poor countries and what this does to the environment, it's awful. Alexander Schmidt 00:26:01 Right? But we haven't solved that problem yet, right? Right. There needs to be some way to solve this problem. And I think recycling is a big part of that. Once, um, we have more batteries going into re recycling, we will do what, you know, let's be honest, not all problems with electric vehicles are solved, but there are progress from what we had, and therefore it's the, the right way. I'm not sure if there's go ever gonna be one step where we'll solve all problems at once. Um, I think if we, if we do a continuous progression and we do it fast enough, then we'll look into a better future. And that's, I think, all we can name for. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:26:37 Yeah, that would be a nice, um, button to push in life, solve all problems fast. Um, but, uh, what, you know, our, our motto really at babble is like accelerating this. So then how do we accelerate? What do you think? Either one of you Sebastian Ewert 00:26:55 On the one inside, I, I love lead by example. So from my point of view, I do everything I can do in terms of, uh, reducing energy consumption, uh, turning down the thermostat at home, putting, uh, PB on my roof, uh, driving electric. My wife has to drive electric, uh, too soon, Tamlyn Shimizu 00:27:15 Even because she didn't buy you the half of the poor, right? <laugh>. Yeah. That's, that's the punishment. She, Sebastian Ewert 00:27:20 She, she had to drive a plugin hybrid for the last four years, and now she has to drive fully electric too. So let's see how my marriage, uh, will Sebastian Ewert 00:27:29 Continue, um, like that. So lead by example is me, maybe even especially as, uh, wealthy countries like, like Germany, like Europe is, uh, like countries in Europe are, because at the moment a lot of people say, yeah, we cannot do much in Europe because it's all China mm-hmm. <affirmative>, but it's all China because we shift a lot of production to China. That is, uh, that emits a lot of, uh, CO2 emissions. And if we can build up the, the industry in Germany, the competencies in Germany to maybe build up wind melts again, photo attack panels, again, we were very good in that 10 years ago. We are not good at the moment. So, um, if we start over and do that again, we, we can lead by example. And I think we as a, as a society, as an economy, we need to do that to be able to, to shape the future. Sebastian Ewert 00:28:23 So, um, yeah, I communicate a lot in terms of, um, uh, electric mobility, because a lot of people still love their cars. They love to be independent, of course, in big cities. And studio is not even a big city. If you think about if I go to London or Paris, I never use my car. I, I park outside, I take the public transport. But if I'm in London, there is a tube every three minutes. Even on Sunday, if I'm in Stuttgart, I might need to wait half an hour. So of course, you need to think about what is public transport all about. I, I love that in Paris, a lot of streets are, are empty now in terms of cars and they're given to, to a pedestrians. So we need to do that. And it stuga what we talked about that before. We are now very good in putting things underground. Sebastian Ewert 00:29:12 We, we train, we are training that with Stuttgart 21 with the train station. So after that, maybe we can put the major roads underground and, uh, give the above space to, to people. I work in Stuttgart, Consta, and we do that at the moment. We dig the tunnel under the zoo to make sure that, uh, the, the heavy traffic goes underground. And, uh, everything above ground will be just a single lane, uh, reduced speed, a lot of green. So the first steps are done, and we need to do more of that. Uh, employees and my team, they just drive electric. They have one, one car for, mainly for, for holiday season. And, uh, both of them, both of them cycle to work cycle to to kindergarten to school. So you can do that if the in infrastructure is right. And, um, yeah, we will do that. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:30:01 Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, we will do that. I like your confidence. I'm very, uh, inspirational on a, on a Friday, um, to leave it with that. Um, did you, I don't wanna cut you off, Alex, did you have a thought on accelerating or did he say it well, <laugh>? Alexander Schmidt 00:30:16 Oh, I, I have lot, lots of thoughts on the, I'll, I'll quote topic. First of all, I'm still shocked that you only get a train every 30 minutes and took out suit. So, um, Stuard West seemingly is a lot better connected. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:30:27 He's only going at 3:00 AM so Alexander Schmidt 00:30:29 Oh, okay. Okay. That might be it. <laugh>. Um, now I think, uh, a lots of the, uh, topics, uh, especially around electric mobility are still kind of superstitions, right? So the kind of you, uh, um, people think, oh, range anxiety is still a thing, right? But that is a thing from like 10 years ago, right? Or maybe five years ago, right? That's not a thing anymore. Uh, um, it, it's also they are less reliable or they are not fun. There is a, there's a lot of things from that, you know, it's, it's just not true. So, you know, as, as you said, leading as an example, telling the stories that, that this is actually a better world. We are, we are looking into, I think that will accelerate a lot. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:31:07 Good. Good point. Um, good. So now I like to give, uh, Sebastian you the open floor, um, to talk about anything that you think we didn't touch on today that's in particularly important. Um, you don't have to take the open floor, but if you want this, this is your time to shine, so please, um, feel free. Sebastian Ewert 00:31:27 Yeah. Thank you very much. Uh, I have so many things in mind. Maybe, maybe starting with a lot of people think about electric mobility or driving a bike or whatever. It's just the, the, the green party, all of guys and golds. Uh, it's only about the environment and so on. Of course it is, and I think it's the most important part of that. But at the end of the day, we, we will not get the, the petrol hats hat turned just by environmental topics. And to be honest, I'm still a petrol hat in terms of what I like from, from cars. But I shifted from combustion to electric. Cause combustion cars are boring and slow, and electric cars are fast and fun. And, uh, I don't drive the zoo anymore. I, I have a, a Tesla, the Porsche, I don't have a Porsche either, but I, I have a Tesla for, for five years now. Sebastian Ewert 00:32:20 But it's quite a slow one. It only has 300 horsepowers. It only drives 220 kilometers an hour. So it's, uh, not the fastest one. It ha doesn't have the biggest battery, but it's good enough to, to drive stud, gut trace and stud gut in a day. So six hours to stud gut, six hours working six hours back. It's a long working day, but it goes, and you, you can drive 1100 kilometers, even with a five year electric vehicle today, it would be much faster with a newer vehicle. But, uh, yeah, time will tell, uh, when can I can afford it again. And, uh, I just drove a temo as pla last weekend, a thousand horsepower. It was so much fun. It was frightening fast. And you don't think about any combustion vehicle anymore. The combustion vehicles are shaking at the traffic light when you stop. Sebastian Ewert 00:33:08 Why does it need to shake and then stop, start? And, um, with the electric vehicle you have, it's quite, I used the cheetah mode, so I pushed the button on the screen, I pushed the brake pedal. I fully pushed the, uh, it's not the gas pedal anymore. The, uh, the electric whatever accelerator pedal, and the cheetah mode lowers the front, it raises the back, so the car moves standing still, and then you just, uh, get rid of the brake pedal and it accelerates in zero to a hundred, less than two seconds, I think, or some something like two seconds. And if you experience that, you don't get, you, you, you don't have the issue that the exhaust melts your ears anymore, but you have a lot of neck pain with these kinds of evil <laugh>. And so fun is one of the most important topics in, in terms of that safety might be. Sebastian Ewert 00:34:00 I just read an arch article today. Um, overtaking is much, uh, safer with an electric vehicle because you can overtake faster, especially on, um, if you don't drive on the highway, if you drive outside the cities. Um, um, so, uh, overtaking on, uh, on a country road is much safer with, with an electric vehicle because you can accelerate faster if you want to over take a track, and then you can slow down again. I will drive a, a lucid air tomorrow. It has 1100 horsepowers <laugh>, and I'm pretty sure it will be as impressive. I still can't afford it. But electric mobility will strive because of environmental topics, because of fun, to drive comfort there. These are a lot of things. It's much easier to drive autonomous with these vehicles. Um, so all of that combined electric mobility will be the core of, um, individual mo mobility in the future. Sebastian Ewert 00:34:55 Of course, it's not, as Alexa said before, we need to have, uh, uh, a combined solution. We need to replace, um, ice vehicles into commercial engine vehicles with electric vehicles. We need to reduce, uh, the usage of cars and try to use public transport or go for a walk or use a bicycle or whatever. You need to combine all of that. Um, but at the end of the day, we are still individuals and we want to spontaneously drive from A to B, and it might not be my own car anymore. It can be a rental car. We, the shad economy will strive again. Uh, COVID blocked that for quite some times, but I'm pretty sure it will come back. I stu there will be a new car sharing company, uh, starting next week. Uh, Deere will come to Stuttgart. Oh. So, uh, a lot of things will progress again, um, in, in the right direction. So electric shared, uh, bicycles and so on, all of that combined will help us to have a small part in saving the planet. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:35:57 Good, good. Last, last words of the interview. I feel like we need to get some of these car companies though now to sponsor this episode. So if you're listening, um, <laugh> here you go. But, um, so now we, we move away from our, our main interview section to go into one of our segments. And actually you get to be our little pilot project here at, at ba at at the podcast. Um, it's a new segment and it's called, what would you do? Speaker 6 00:36:25 What would you do? What would you do in the shoes of someone else? What would be the first actions you would take? Tamlyn Shimizu 00:36:36 Um, so the question is, if you were a minister of transport, what would be the first changes you would make? Sebastian Ewert 00:36:45 On the one hand side, I'd like to get rid of all the cons. Construction work, especially not aligned construction work. When you drive long distance, you have a lot of, uh, construction sites and they come quite often and they never progress, and they never seem to be aligned in terms of, uh, uh, where do you do what? So if I would be minister of transport, I would make sure that there is only construction work every hundred kilometers, and there is a huge workforce on that one site to, to solve it within weeks or month, and not within years. At the moment, the only, uh, timeframe you can see is several years or several decades, sort of. I would make sure that the timeframe is not years, but month or, or weeks. So, um, because if you do that, you can, you have a constant flow of vehicles, you have less congestion, and you have less emissions. Sebastian Ewert 00:37:39 Because if you have to break and accelerate all of that, uh, it makes a lot of sense. So we don't need to build new highways, we need to repair the highways we have, and we need to do that properly. Then I, of course would invest in, um, infrastructure in terms of, um, high power charging, high power charging for long distance and destination charging for, for the cities. I would get rid of the, uh, mayor's charging stations in terms of two outlets in front of the mayor's office. I would put a hundred charging stations there. I would mandate that all public parking needs to be electrified in the future to just solve the he and neck problem. Of course, I would work on the, uh, Dodge Shaban grid, um, do that properly. You just, uh, I think last week, um, there was a Dolan tact planned for year 2030, and they just shifted that by 40 years to 2070. So they realize now that they just need 40 years more than originally planned. And I don't know, we planted a few Tamlyn Shimizu 00:38:41 Years ago. Yes, 40, Sebastian Ewert 00:38:41 Yeah, just 40 <laugh>. Yeah, four zero, not one, four, whatever, four zero years later than plant. So if you talk about delayed swank or whatever big project, um, it's piece of cake in terms of what, uh, yeah, we talk about trains at the moment. Of course, shifting, shifting logistics to to, to rails is very important. And, um, yeah, I would, I would try to still keep the individual mobility, but make it so much easier in terms of, um, of using shared economy and, um, public transport, uh, that you can just choose. I will do that. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:39:27 Sounds like a good plan. Now that we've annoyed all the ministers of transport. Um, Alex, do you have another addition? Do that. Alexander Schmidt 00:39:35 Am I also minister of Transport Now? Tamlyn Shimizu 00:39:37 You're also a minister of Transport. Ok, Alexander Schmidt 00:39:38 I know. Interesting interest. So I, I think I just wanna pick up on the, in on the infrastructure investment part, which I think is, uh, is, uh, super important. I think, um, the, the length of train tracks, um, is actually reducing in, uh, in some parts of, uh, of Europe, which is dangerous because, uh, that creates then strains on, on actually the services that you can offer. You know, the 40 years delays a symptom, um, uh, of that. But I, I think I want to go down one other track, and I think as Minister of Transport to, one thing I would like to do instantly is create a positive outlook into the, the future. Because lots of the discussions we are having on, on mobility is always the delays, the, um, the congestion, all all these kinds of negative things. So anyone that thinks about the future of mobility is, you know, all the things that we don't wanna have, huh? Alexander Schmidt 00:40:31 But let's think about also about all the cool things that we have gotten over the, the last years, and that will just be available more, more and more, right? So our, our roads get safer every year. Our cars gets less pollutant every year. I have, I think every day another mobility option, um, uh, uh, going, uh, going around, right? So I can take electric scooters, I can take a shared bike. I don't know, I do not own anything anymore. As you said, the, um, the shared economy is coming back in, in, in full force. So all these really cool things, and instead of always thinking about all the things that are not working at the moment, let's talk about this cool future that we, uh, that we can build. I think that would generate a lots of energy also, because people like to think about, uh, you know, tomorrow is gonna be better and we all wanna build, uh, that part. And, um, I think that's, that would create some energy to actually move forward faster. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:41:26 I, I like the communications focus, um, on that. Uh, so yeah. Thank you. Um, so we have just one question left. Uh, so you can breathe a sigh of relief. Um, we're almost done almost on the finish line. Um, so, but there's, it's a question we ask every single guest, and it's, to you, what is a smart city? Sebastian Ewert 00:41:48 A smart cities is where everything is interconnected. So in terms of people, infrastructure, information, technology, all of that needs to be interconnected at, in, it can start with parking, traffic lights, public transport, and so on. So interconnection is, from my point of view, the important part of a smart city. And, uh, yeah, to do that properly, uh, interconnecting, um, the municipals, the people, um, this is important to have a smart city. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:42:24 Yeah, good answer. Um, Alex, anything to add? <laugh>? Any one sentence on it or No? No, it's a, it's a, you can't use chat G P t though. <laugh> <laugh>, Sebastian Ewert 00:42:37 By the way. Don't use chat, uh, G P T and, uh, put in Mala Chak. The answer's not correct Tamlyn Shimizu 00:42:43 <laugh>, and Sebastian Ewert 00:42:44 That's the thing, it, it stopped learning two years ago, right? Tamlyn Shimizu 00:42:46 So that's, uh, yeah, that's the issue. We gotta get it updated and then see how it does. So, um, yeah, thank you so much for coming on. Um, that's, that's all she wrote, so thank you for all your wonderful insights into charging and infrastructure and all that mobility entails and looking towards a brighter future we hope as well. So, um, thank you Sebastian, for coming Sebastian Ewert 00:43:09 On. Thank you very much for having me. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:43:11 And of course, always a pleasure, Alex. Sebastian Ewert 00:43:13 Always. It Tamlyn Shimizu 00:43:14 Is <laugh>. And to all of our listeners, don't forget, you can always create a free account on Babel Smart cities.eu. You can find out more about smart city projects, maybe about ma charge big, uh, solutions, implementations, and more. So thank you all for listening. I'll see you at the next stop on the journey to a better urban life.

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