Canoo welcomes VDE|DKE to Silicon Valley

Canoo welcomes VDE|DKE to Silicon Valley

| Sven Doornkaat
2019-03-25 short info

Canoo is reimagining (electric) mobility and placing great value on standards

Silicon Valley. The Mecca of the tech sector. Apple, Google, Facebook – they’re all headquartered there. As are Tesla, Uber and Lyft. And Canoo. A start-up, founded by former top managers from German automotive manufacturers. Dr. Ing. Karl-Thomas Neumann is one of them. Innovative approaches, coupled with electric mobility are an ideal environment for VDE|DKE.

Michael Teigeler, Managing Director at VDE|DKE, and Dr. Ing. Ralf Petri, Head of Mobility and Logistics at VDE, travelled to Los Angeles to discuss Canoo and the future of (electric) mobility with Dr. Neumann.


Dr. Ralf Petri
Dr. Karl-Thomas Neumann

Dr. Karl-Thomas Neumann

| Sven Doornkaat

What does the mobility of the future look like? Karl-Thomas Neumann should know. He is familiar with the current developments, discussions and questions in all areas of this topic. Dr. Neumann has spent his entire career in the automotive industry and was the chairman of the board of Adam Opel AG until 2017. When he left Opel, Dr. Neumann turned his back on the large, traditional automotive manufacturers, but stayed true to the industry: As part of the management team at Canoo, a start-up from California whose goal is to reimagine (electric) mobility and get it on the road.

Cars act as a smart device for mobility services

“We asked ourselves: How could everyone afford an electric car?” says Dr. Neumann. The approach: In the future, Canoo doesn’t want to sell cars, but offer them as part of a subscription model. A fully-customisable option for everyone. Dr. Neumann continues: “The question regarding whether we even want to continue owning cars that largely sit around, unused, will be a major issue in the future. Aren’t there much better ways?” But that is just one way the start-up from Silicon Valley wants to set itself apart from established and new competitors.

How vehicles themselves are seen is crucial: Canoo sees itself as a mobility service provider for whom cars are, ultimately, just a tool to present mobility services. More concretely, that means: The vehicle itself becomes a smart device with a perfect connection to the Internet of Things (IoT). Cross-manufacturer networking is therefore a major aspect.

Interfaces require interoperability and, thus, standards

Whether Bluetooth, WLAN or 5G: Networking is the focus. Then, there is also the matter of standards. In particular with respect to replacing or upgrading software-based services, standardised interfaces are indispensable. “We have a major interest in standardised interfaces and will place value on standards, for instance with respect to charging, and not develop our own solution,” Dr. Neumann explains.

The German Standardization Roadmap Electric Mobility 2020

represents the current standardisation activities in the field of electric mobility and compiles the current state-of-the-art, in particular, with respect to safety, vehicle technology and charging interfaces.

  • Wired charging
  • Wireless charging of electric vehicles
  • Charging with higher charging capacities
  • Information and communication technologies

And which interfaces are most interesting with respect to standardisation? Dr. Neumann get very specific on that: “From my perspective, everything that relates to autonomous driving. Autonomous driving will ultimately be nothing other than a product you can buy.” He continues: “I think Europe still has the wrong perspective on this. We actually need to make cities much more intelligent and reconsider the interfaces between infrastructure and cars so, the topic of standardisation is, of course, extremely important. The reimagination is already happening, as we can see here in Los Angeles. In the end, we need a lot more infrastructure and standardisation because cities will be redesigned and traffic zones will be redrawn. Both micromobility and robot taxis place completely different demands on road traffic.”

Canoo’s plan to reimagine (electric) mobility makes clear how norms and standards can support future planning projects by ensuring interoperability, for instance, in the context of urban mobility. The Nationale Plattform Zukunft der Mobilität (NPM (National Platform for the Future of Mobility)) is a pioneering initiative in Germany. Work group 6, under the supervision of Roland Bent, Chairman of VDE|DKE, deals with standardisation, certification and approval. Developing the standardisation road map “The Future of Mobility” is one of its primary goals.

Interesting thoughts and exciting approaches? Then look forward to the April issue (02/2019) of the VDE dialog, the technology magazine from VDE. You can learn more about the urban mobility trends of tomorrow, the ability of German automotive manufacturers to compete in the digital age and why block chain is a major part of Canoo’s unique selling point (USP) in the complete interview with Karl-Thomas Neumann.

VDE|DKE’s interview of Karl-Thomas Neumann from Canoo