September, 2018

You will probably have noticed that quite a bit of this month’s edition of Motor Trader is focused on electric vehicles (EVs). Of all the disruptors that can be expected over the next few years, it is the EV that will likely be the first to arrive in a big way. As mentioned elsewhere in this edition, a number of new EV models can be expected to arrive in Australia by this time next year and more are on the way.

On the next few pages of Innovation News you’ll read about Jaguar’s electric E-type, the new Vespa electric scooter that is going into production, a fantastic-looking EV concept from Infiniti and, in the Concept Corner feature, the amazing motorsport-inspired PB18 e-tron from Audi.

There’s also a report on the cutting-edge hydrogen cell technology from Australia’s national science agency, the CSIRO. That technology – that creates ultra-high purity hydrogen from ammonia – will allow for hydrogen to be transported in the form of ammonia and converted back to hydrogen at the point of use. As the CSIRO points out, the tech ‘has the potential to fill the gap in the technology chain to supply fuel cell vehicles around the world with low-emissions hydrogen sourced from Australia’.

It’s truly impressive stuff and members of the MTAiQ team were in Brisbane to see the unveiling of the system as the CSIRO successfully refueled two fuel cell vehicles.

MTAiQ and MTA Queensland will also be a part of the upcoming EV expo, to be held in Brisbane in November, where presentations will be made on the continuing development of the technology and the training courses available through the MTA Institute.

The momentum is solidly behind EVs as the next automotive revolution and the technology has come a long way in 15 years.

I say 15 years because it was in 2003 that a certain company called Tesla was founded. Say what you like about that company’s enigmatic chief Elon Musk – and quite a lot unflattering things have been said and written about him in the past few months – but the man is seen, with some justification, as the person who kickstarted an industry that had been all but forgotten.

In the years since Tesla was founded – the same year, incidently, that GM cancelled its innovative EV1 electric car program – the development of batteries, fast chargers, charging infrastructure and, of course, the shift by every manufacturer of note into building EV models, has forced everybody to face the reality that the auto industry will be a very different beast in just the next few years.

EVs, and the autonomous vehicles that will surely follow, are technologies that will form part of future mobility solutions, and that was the focus of the Deloitte Queensland Gala, held in August, that MTAiQ and MTA Queensland CEO, Dr Brett Dale, attended.

These events are vital as we move to an ever more connected and inter-connected transportation system, allowing everyone involved in the development of innovative concepts and systems to network, interact and come together to discuss options and ways forward.

Deloitte, as with MTAiQ and MTA Queensland, is at the forefront of these discussions and the Deloitte City Mobility Index is an invaluable resource – a comprehensive review of key aspects of mobility in 18 cities, and a document that ‘sets out to create a new and better way for city officials, transport operators and public planners to gauge the readiness of their transport networks to embrace the rapid changes occurring in the transportation ecosystem’. It is well worth a look.

The MTAiQ Innovation Hub’s mission is to to bring together mentors, investors, coaches, commercial partners and industry experts to collaborate with both start-up businesses and entrepreneurs, as well as established businesses looking to adapt to the changing industry landscape. And that mission has always been a state-wide, indeed national, one.

MTAiQ has made connections with local governments, other innovation hubs, academia and business, and last month, James Orr, our Chief Technology Innovation Officer, and Nathan Nguyen, MTAiQ Community Manager, travelled to Mackay to visit Split Spaces, that city’s innovation hub. Ultimately, the intention is to open opportunities for regional businesses and entrepreneurs to access to the resources of MTAiQ, and the Mackay trip was the first step in our task to enable anyone, from anywhere is Queensland, to be able to do just that.

Our state is alive with innovative thinkers and doers and and we will be visiting more regional centres, and making more connections, to ensure that the great ideas out there have the best chance to develop into something commercially viable.

On that note, I encourage you, no matter where you are located, to get in touch with MTAiQ with your automotive-related concept. We are constantly searching for innovative ideas that can have an impact on the automotive industry and we’re keen to hear all about them. We might just be able to give you the impetus you need to get them off the drawing board. Click on the blue button link below, fill in the submission form, and we’ll be in touch about what will happen next! Simple.

I’ll be back with more in October’s Motor Trader, but until then, it may be worth considering these words from American businesswoman Ginni Rometty, CEO of IBM, “The only way you survive is you continuously transform into something else. It’s this idea of continuous transformation that makes you an innovative company.”

We here at MTAiQ look forward to hearing from you!

Until next month.

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MTAiQ acknowledges the traditional owners of the land on which we live and work - the Yugambeh and Yuggera people. We pay our respects to elders past, present and emerging. In the spirit of reconciliation, we will continue to work with traditional custodians to support the health and wellbeing of community.