COLOGNE, Germany – A new Ford Motor Company-sponsored poll shows most Europeans remain committed to car ownership, but have growing concerns about traffic congestion, the cost of driving and the environment.
Ford commissioned the survey conducted by “The Futures Company,” a leading consultancy, to better understand the opinions and attitudes of Europeans across a range of mobility issues – from car sharing to green driving to the future of the internal combustion engine.
The Ford survey showed the majority of people say life would be “impossible” without a car; however 76 per cent of Europeans say they are affected by stress from traffic congestion and fuel prices. The survey shows 74 per cent use public transport, 37 per cent share cars when making the same journey and 3 per cent use formal car sharing schemes.
“The survey shows that we need a public dialogue and pull in all the stakeholders to address the issues of mobility and environmental responsibility,” said Barb Samardzich, vice president, Product Development, Ford of Europe. “As the world becomes more crowded and more urbanized, we don’t want to lose the freedom of mobility, and that’s why we need to take a collaborative and integrated approach.”
Samardzich today will take part in a “Future of Transport” debate in London hosted by the Guardian newspaper alongside Sylvian Haon, secretary general Polis Network; Susan Claris, associate editor Arup; and Fabio Orecchini, professor of energy systems University of Rome and editor of La Republicca newspaper.
“A clear vision of sustainability, together with a transparent use of resources, energy vectors and related environmental impacts, can drive us to the best solution: sustainable mobility based on renewable resources and intrinsically useful to the economic development of any region,” said Orecchini.
Other key findings of the survey:
• 74 per cent identify car ownership with independence
• 52 per cent use public transport less than once a month or never
• 53 per cent say climate change was world’s biggest problem
• 77 per cent would not cut car usage to help tackle environmental issues
• 72 per cent say fuel efficiency is one of the areas they consider most when buying a car
• 50 per cent would use a more environmental driving style if they better understood the financial benefit
• 57 per cent say elected bodies bear most responsibility for reducing transport impact on the environment
Of those surveyed, 28 per cent say they would consider buying a vehicle with an electrified powertrain; though few have first-hand experience of such vehicles (8 per cent have owned or driven a hybrid electric vehicle and 6 per cent have owned or driven a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle or pure battery electric vehicle). By comparison 66 per cent of those polled have owned a petrol engine vehicle and 38 per cent have owned a diesel engine vehicle.
The number of cars on the world’s roads is projected to rise from about 1 billion today between 2 billion and 4 billion by 2050. The European Commission foresees that congestion costs in Europe will rise by 50 per cent to €200 billion per year in the same time frame.
Led by Executive Chairman Bill Ford, Ford Motor Company has been at the forefront of the future mobility discussion. Earlier this year in Barcelona, Bill Ford outlined the company’s “Blueprint for Mobility
,” a vision for how mobility issues can be addressed through collaboration among all stakeholders and the application of new technology.
Ford is collaborating with multiple partners to ensure a holistic approach in identifying and working towards a future vision of transportation. For example, experts from the Ford European Research and Advanced Engineering Europe Centre in Aachen, Germany, are leading and contributing to a number of high-profile collaborative research projects that look at delivering car-to-car and car-to-infrastructure communications capability, improved traffic integration and intelligent driver assistance features; all of which are key enablers in easing traffic congestion and improving safety and fuel efficiency.
• simTD (Safe Intelligent Mobility – Testfield Germany) – a joint research project supported by the German government that began in 2008. It is testing car-to-car and car-to-infrastructure communication systems under real-world conditions in a large scale test environment. Such systems could deliver road safety and efficiency improvements from existing traffic infrastructures, potentially improving traffic flow and reducing CO2 emissions. 120 vehicles, including 20 Ford S-MAX cars began daily field operational tests in Frankfurt in July 2012
• DRIVE C2X (DRIVing implementation and Evaluation of C2X communication technology in Europe) – a joint research project supported by the European Commission that began in 2011. It is testing the compatibility and scalability of cooperative car-to-car and car-to-infrastructure communication systems under real-world conditions. The DRIVE C2X reference system is used to demonstrate cooperative vehicles in real-world traffic in cooperation with the Car2Car Communication Consortium and Testfeld Telematik.
• eCoMove (Cooperative Mobility Systems and Services for Energy Efficiency) – a joint consortium of automotive industry, fleet operators and traffic management providers supported by the European Commission that began in 2010. It is targeting improved traffic flow and reductions in CO2 emissions through cooperative systems.
• interactIVe (Accident Avoidance by Active Intervention of Intelligent Vehicles) – a consortium of 29 partners led by Ford and supported by the European Commission that began in 2010. It is testing the performance of implemented driver assistance systems through active intervention. These include autonomous braking and steering in critical situations and aims to avoid collisions and mitigate impact severity
“Ford’s policy has always been to look far ahead and plan to address the needs of future drivers,” said Paul Mascarenas, Ford’s chief technical officer and vice president, Research and Innovation. “Our company’s vast experience in the automotive environment allows us to play a pivotal role in shaping the transport infrastructure and vehicles of tomorrow.”
In 2011, Ford Motor Company spent €4.1 billion on research and development globally, in areas including car-to-car communication, driver assistance features, materials development and manufacturing.