[Translate to English:] ©ÖBB

IAA Mobility Weekly: Night train to Paris

Dec 10, 2020

Used electric vehicles could make it easier for many motorists to embrace e-mobility – if they check on certain important details. Those who prefer rail travel can look forward to the return of night trains. And in San Antonio engineers are currently working on fairer traffic lights. All this and more in the IAA Weekly.

The lead: is it worth buying a used electric car?

Used but sexy – Hank Moody, the main character in the cult TV series “Californication,” seduced millions of viewers in a sports car that had seen better days. The novelist with writer’s block and a drink problem zoomed around the streets of Los Angeles in a one-eyed Porsche 964. One front lamp was smashed, the hood was covered with dust and the seats were filthy – but a series Porsche has rarely held such cult status.

Used is “better than new.” Right now this is the motto of many motorists considering whether to switch to an electric vehicle. According to a report by the German TV news program “Tagesschau,” interest is growing not only in new fully electric vehicles. Used car dealers are noticing rising demand for second-hand electric cars. “We often find that the customers first buy a used car. And then, when their skepticism has died down, they decide to get a new one,” a used car dealer said.

Hyundai Kona Elektro ©Hyundai Motor Company

However, the modest financial outlay is not the only reason why interest in used e-vehicles is increasing. Customers also benefit because they don’t have to wait long for a second-hand car. Used e-models are generally available right away. Furthermore, according to experts, even vehicles that are two or three years old contain such advanced technology that they can provide a foretaste of the brand new models coming onto the market. But before deciding to buy a used car, customers should take a careful look at the steering and chassis components, the tires and the condition of the batteries, say experts from Germany’s vehicle inspection agency TÜV.

PS: Anyone who likes vintage cars, but just loves motorized innovations, can admire the developments of the future at the IAA Mobility 2021 from September 7 to 12. What is more, the latest models will be available for test drives.

Infrastructure update: night train to Paris

How will people want to travel when the travel restrictions have finally been lifted? Four European rail companies have an idea and are recycling a piece of moth-balled railway nostalgia. A lot more night trains could soon be rattling across Europe.

The national rail companies in Germany, Austria, France and Switzerland want to bring back night trains connecting 13 major cities including Vienna, Munich, Cologne, Berlin, Paris and Amsterdam. The aim is to double the number of passengers using night trains – at present the figure stands at 1.4 million.

©Deutsche Bahn
©Deutsche Bahn

Quote of the week: preserve public transport

Only a year ago local public transport was groaning under passenger overload. Many carriages were like sardine tins, except that the smell was worse. This year coronavirus has impacted public transport companies by drastically reducing passenger numbers. Trains are deserted, and whole bus routes have been axed. For fear of picking up corona, people prefer to commute on their own. And that could have severe environmental and social consequences, warns Mohamed Mezghani, Secretary General of the International Association of Public Transport.

„It’s important to preserve or reinforce the priority of public transport if we want to avoid complete gridlock in cities.“

Mohamed Mezghani, General Secretary of the International Association of Public Transport

Figure of the week: 120

There are productive employees, and there are innovative superstars like Jens Braband, a mathematician and safety expert from Cuxhaven (Germany). In his 27 years at Siemens’ mobility division, he has filed a total of 120 patents. For example, algorithms programmed by Braband protect high-speed trains against cyberattacks.

LinkedIn top voice: Oliver Reppert, CEO of Share Now

Oliver Reppert heads the Daimler/BMW carsharing scheme with a strategy for the future.

©Volkswagen AG

Innovation update: traffic signals adapt in real time

“The lights are always against me.” Every day this thought goes through the minds of many drivers. In San Antonio (Texas, US) traffic experts want to reduce frustration with traffic signals. In the future, artificial intelligence could control how the lights change to make them fairer.

Around the world, traffic signals are already controlled based on complex traffic studies and computer simulations to make them as fair as possible. But the volume of traffic varies hugely near to hospitals, shopping centers and stadiums. For this reason, real time adjustments to traffic signals are to be introduced in San Antonio to improve the traffic flow.

“The adaptive signal timing strategy uses technology at the intersection and on computer servers that we have to allow the traffic signals to adjust to the traffic condition – and in potentially real time,” explains City Traffic Signal Engineer Mark Jacobson.

Did you know that the world governing body of cycling, the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), has organized the first-ever world championships in e-cycling – producing a German champion? Jason Osborne from Mainz won the premier title by clocking 65 minutes and 15 seconds, ahead of his Danish rivals Anders Foldager and Nicklas Pedersen.