VivaTech is a major event in technological innovation attended by the heads of digital giants, such as the CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, leading French companies and start-ups. This year’s event was held at the Porte de Versailles exhibition park from 16 to 19 June and attracted the sector’s finest. One of the stands that caused quite a stir was that of Mobilize, the Renault Group’s new brand, which has clearly stated its ambition to go beyond automotive. This is an unprecedented challenge for the Group, which is committed to creating services, partnerships and skills that involve mobility, energy and data.
VivaTech was Mobilize’s first public showing, with a stand bearing the brand’s colours and style and a design illustrating Mobilize’s services and solutions that will make mobility more lasting and responsible. The presentation proved successful, since one visitor in every four to the show visited the stand.
HIGHLIGHT 1: Three vehicles devoted to shared mobility services
Three 100%-electric vehicles were actually present on the Mobilize stand, and – a rare occurrence in the automobile sector – were designed not to be sold, but to show the services of shared, rented mobility, as Clotilde Delbos, CEO of the Mobilize brand, explained.
The first prototype presented was the Mobilize DUO, a compact, connected two-seater designed for its automatic sharing possibilities. Based on circular economy principles, the Mobilize DUO design aims to incorporate 50% of recycled materials in its manufacture and to be 95% recyclable at the end of its lifespan. Mobilize DUO will be available in 2023.
The second vehicle presented on the stand was the Mobilize HIPPO. This light utility vehicle is designed for deliveries in urban and suburban areas, and “zero emission” areas. Several interchangeable loading modules will be available to meet different requirements, with a loading capacity of 200 kilos and up to some 3m3.
And finally, the third vehicle presented was the Mobilize BENTO, which is designed for the transport and delivery of less cumbersome items and has a cargo box attached to the back of the vehicle, which could be as big as one cubic meter.
HIGHLIGHT 2: Alliances for simplified, more ecological mobility
The host of new mobility services and their “in silo” use can present problems for the mobile user, which is why Mobilize also presented its Mobilité 360 project in a keynote speech. There are four major mobility players behind this initiative: BlaBlaCar, the RATP group, Uber and Mobilize. Jean-Christophe Labarre, head of Mobilize innovation and strategic partnerships, explained how this alliance came about: “Mobilité360 is four majors players in mobility working together to have an impact on mobility services and ensure that offers are simpler, more ecological and less costly. Today, it is difficult to go from point A to point B. It’s complex. There are too many applications on our smartphones and the offers are too fragmented.”
With Mobilité360, Mobilize and its partners are committed to working together to offer mobility solutions for towns and citizens that are simpler, greener, lasting and shared. Laureline Serieys, General manager of Uber France , who emphasized that the Californian company had joined Mobilité360 in order to “pool our services for a multimodal approach and better-flowing traffic”. She also noted that Uber aimed to see electric vehicles make up 50% of its fleet by 2025. Uber is counting on Mobilize expertise to manage this change. “On average, drivers cover some 250 km per day. If they have an electric car, they need a solid infrastructure behind them. To that end, it will need to help develop the network of charging stations. This is the direction Mobilize is heading in”.
HIGHLIGHT 3: Energy transition: how Mobilize is accompanying the regions
One of the other areas of development for Mobilize is to accompany the various regions in their energy transition. This was the subject of another Mobilize intervention, in partnership with Qovoltis, a specialist in intelligent charging stations. Alain Ballu, Vice-President for Energy Business at Mobilize, noted: “Partnerships are in our DNA. Working with start-ups like Qovoltis enables us to put forward innovative proposals in our regions. Renault Group is a pioneer in the Smart Island concept. Our first project was launched on the island of Porto Santo in 2018 with the aim of it reaching carbon neutrality by 2030”.
At VivaTech, Mobilize also announced a project run in partnership with the town council of Ile d’Yeu, Enedis and Qovoltis. “Our joint ambition is to develop a whole ecosystem to accompany the island in its energy transition”, said Alain Ballu. On Ile d’Yeu, the local use of solar energy is thus optimized thanks to the electric vehicles that hook up to the network. Ehsan Emami, the Chairman and Founder of Qovoltis, highlighted one of the start-up’s innovations: integrated V2G. “In off-peak hours, when there is abundant electricity, cars can charge at a lower cost and replenish their batteries. At peak times, your car could also provide electricity for your home and reduce the charging on the network. This is the first step towards a carbon-free future”.
HIGHLIGHT BONUS: Batteries never die
Over this very busy week for Mobilize at VivaTech, the Renault Group brand announced an industrial partnership with the German start-up, Betteries, to extend the lifespan of electric car batteries by giving them a second life.
Between their first life as part of the vehicles and their recycling, the batteries can continue to provide energy for numerous applications. With Betteries, Mobilize plans to develop a modular mobile energy system that will be made from batteries from electric cars. As the system will be easy to transport, it will be able to satisfy numerous uses when hooking up to the electricity network is impossible: on construction sites, at events and even on small electric boats. This portable energy storage system will be produced at Renault Group’s Re-Factory at Flins in France.