Académie des technologies

Tomorrow’s vehicles – Academic report

Academic Report, Edp sciences, Paris 2013

In a world of 7 billion inhabitants, with 700 M private cars on the roads and more than 70 M built every year, this rapid growth rate in a context of deep-reaching change in energy procurement/use policies and the need to limit greenhouse gases (GHGs) has led the Academy to imagine various possible future scenarios.

“Tomorrow’s vehicles” is a topic that has been addressed in numerous technological prospective studies. The specific feature of the NATF Report is that it adopts a systemic approach, analysing together all the ongoing changes in the “automobile mobility” eco-system, and projecting them to the future. Among the main factors of change, the following trends have been identified:

  • The growth markets are Asian and also in emerging countries: these countries will be the targets for production, while demand in France (or in Europe generally) level off or even regress;
  • For reasons touching on production organisation (including the logistics), the assembly of vehicles must be located close to the market outlets: this is a strong trend, corroborated by the continuous decrease of capacity in France to produce vehicles;
  • The population forecast that indicates that over 70% of the world’s population will live in megapoles in the future leads to a change in consumer behaviour and indeed in their travel and mobility modes. The “possession” model will almost certainly be replaced by a more utilitarian “service” use that will prove more flexible and a challenge for automobile manufacturers;
  • Pollution due to internal combustion engines – fine particle emissions (especially for diesel engines) – noise, GHGs will increasingly make acceptation by the public more difficult given the deleterious effects on mankind, on the environment which have become a matter of debate in terms of public health.

Faced with these changes, the question is how he can preserve an automobile industry in France? How can we avoid losing (or relocating outside France) a technically complex industrial sector that employs thousands of persons. Such a loss (or relocation) would lower the capacity of the country to innovate in other sectors of the economy (in France and in Europe) that generate added value.

The NATF Standing Committee on “Mobility and Transportation Systems” called on several levels of external expertise to carry through the academic study, lasting some 2 years.

This NATF Academic Report will be offered soon on the publisher’s site in book-stores and on-line librarians sites.

Download the Press File (in French)

Download the PowerPoint by Olivier MAUREL, used at the Press conference 25/9/2012

Table of Contents


1.Panorama of the world’s production of automobiles and the car industry

The first section of the Report provides a panorama of the world’s automobile production and the changes that are forecast in this sector: the advent of electric cars, development of hybrids, “green fuels” (including hydrogen).

2. New forms of mobility and new uses for cars

The second section of the Report addresses the questions of mobility and changes forecast: new forms of mobility and new uses are appearing that may or may not favour development of private cars, but seen as providing a service and may largely enhance the introduction of electric vehicles in urban areas, which in some 3 decades will group together the majority of the world’s inhabitants?

3. A systemic approach to electric vehicles

The third section of the Report offers a systemic vision of tomorrow’s vehicles; the automobile is analysed as one element in a global mobility system, with unavoidable changes to come in the way we travel, in the infrastructure that enable this, in regulation issues (tolls, controlled access ..) and in an extension of the concept of multi-modal transportation.

4. The technological dimension of electric vehicles

The fourth and last section of the Report takes a closer look at the technologies of tomorrow’s vehicles, from two points of view; on one hand the authors comment on and assess the impacts that such technologies will have on design and industrialisation of tomorrow’s cars, on the other, the key technologies – viz. those for which there is a clear interest to retain control in France if we wish to maintain a competitive automobile sector – are likewise identified and analysed.

The Report ends on a set of recommendations issued by the NATF designed to favour the pursuit and development in France of a strong automobile sector, seen as a vector for technological innovation employing millions of people.

Composition of the NATF Working Party ‘Tomorrow’s Vehicules’

The NATF Working Party, chaired by Olivier MAUREL, was created through the initiative of the Academy’s Standing Committee on Mobility and Transportation Systems, with the help of the Committee’s Secretary, Elisabeth WINDISCH.

NATF Fellows:

Pierre CASTILLON, NATF Founder President



Prof. Bernard DECOMPS





Prof. Emile QUINET

Jean-Claude RAOUL, Delegate General NATF

Among the external experts consulted:

Christian STREIFF, former CEO of PSA Peugeot Citroën
Jean-Jacques CHANARON, Senior Research Scientists GATE-CNRS- scientific advisor at the Grenobles ‘Ecole de Management’
Prof. Jean-Pierre ORFEUIL, University of Paris XII
Guillaume GERONDEAU, VP Product Planning & Marketing Europe, Toyota
Gabriel PLASSAT, National Research Agency for the Environment (ADEME)
Yves DUBREUIL, Renault Automobiles
Pascal HENAULT, PSA Peugeot, Citroën