The European Union aims to reduce transport emissions by 90% by 2050

Decarbonisation, connectivity and autonomous driving are three trends powering technological innovation in the mobility industry for which the European Union has set the target of achieving climate neutrality by 2050, a milestone that calls for cutting emissions in transport by more than 90 percent.

This was pointed out at the eMobility Expo World Congress held in Valencia by David Pardos, head of Business Development in the Mobility team at the Eurecat technology centre, who argues that “sustainable and decarbonised mobility is a key trend in today’s society for carrying both people and goods and by land, sea and air.”

However, “it has some associated challenges which have to be factored in and that we are working to solve, such as recharging infrastructures, the shortage of raw materials for the manufacture of batteries and the development of fuel cells (hydrogen) and in particular the high costs of all of this.”

He thinks that “we are also moving from an ownership model to a pay-per-use model where the user is at the centre and where mobility is shifting from a product-centred model to a model focused on service and multimodality, not only on the car.” The potential is even greater “if you consider how little we use our cars because most of the time they are parked or idle, while we also save on other things such as the cost of buying, parking and servicing them.”

Connectivity and autonomous driving

Connectivity between vehicles can furnish real-time information about possible incidents on the road such as an accident, the presence of another damaged vehicle and traffic or weather incidents. There is also connectivity between vehicles and infrastructure, including traffic signals and traffic lights, and between occupants and the outside world, which means people can work or enjoy entertainment or leisure activities while travelling.

Another future trend is that the driver will eventually disappear and it will be the vehicle that takes people and goods from one place to another autonomously and making its own decisions, such as the robotaxis and eVTOLs (electric Vertical Take-Off and Landing) which are currently under development.  Many transport and mobility businesses are working along these lines, although “there is still a long way to go, especially in terms of its regulation and the changing habits of today’s society,” says Eurecat’s David Pardos.

Moreover, “the need for digital transformation and the growing importance of software and standing out from the competition means the sector is constantly evolving and developing highly innovative products and services.”

All these trends point to a scenario shaped by “the rapid evolution of the industry in technology and business models,” notes Alfred Beltran, Eurecat’s head of Business Development for the Automotive Market. “This means transformation and innovation at all levels in the value chain.”

BATTECH, state-of-the-art innovation encompassing the entire battery value chain

In terms of the decarbonisation of the transport sector and its electrification, but also with respect to sustainability and environmental impact, “one of the key challenges is in batteries for mobility,” argues Agustí Chico, Eurecat’s director of special projects and BATTECH’s technology director.

“Enhancing the transfer of knowledge in electric batteries to industry from a standpoint based on the circular economy and sustainability is an opportunity we cannot afford to miss in a scenario which is rapidly advancing towards the generation of green energy, decarbonisation of industry and electrification of mobility.”

To address all the research and innovation challenges in batteries, Eurecat and the Catalonia Energy Research Institute (IREC) launched BATTECH ( in 2021 as a joint research unit which encompasses everything in the battery value chain from developing the materials making up the cells as key parts of the batteries to embedding large batteries to shift towards sustainable mobility or for energy systems coupled with the second life and recycling of these batteries.

Technological solutions for potential cyberattacks, autonomous vertical navigation, in new battery materials and for assessing the lifecycle and environmental impact of mobility

Eurecat has examined trends in the sector and presented innovative technological solutions to attendees at the eMobility Expo World Congress anchored in a multidisciplinary approach.

Juan Caubet, director of IT&OT Security at the Eurecat technology centre, has described the self-assessment and self-protection toolbox developed as part of the European SELFY project led by Eurecat to enhance the resilience of Connected, Cooperative and Automated Mobility (CCAM) systems against potential cyberthreats and enhance the security of these systems at a time when around 50 million connected and automated cars are expected to be on the road in Europe by 2026.

Meanwhile, Julián Cayero, lead researcher in the Aerial Robotics Division of the Robotics and Automation Unit at the Eurecat technology centre, set out the opportunities and advantages of autonomous vertical navigation with drones inside factories and their surroundings to move light parts faster, more sustainably and efficiently.

In batteries, Jordi Jacas, senior researcher in the Energy Storage, Harvesting and Catalysis group at the IREC and a BATTECH researcher, unpacked research into new materials for high energy density batteries to spur electric mobility with specific projects being conducted to achieve new cobalt-free cells (Cobra, IntelLiGent) and new generation solid-state cells (Advagen, Spinmate) which are more sustainable and deliver better performance than their current counterparts.

Finally, Violeta Vargas, a researcher in the Waste, Energy and Environmental Impact Unit at Eurecat and a researcher at BATTECH into the environmental impact of products and services during their life cycle, presented the life cycle assessment method. This is a crucial tool for evaluating the environmental footprint of electric mobility in the use phase but also in the manufacturing phase and end-of-life phase, including second life for other uses and evaluating issues such as energy or resource usage in all these stages.

Meanwhile, at the Innovation Arena Alberto Gómez, BATTECH’s Technology lead, set out BATTECH’s input to specialised research, development, testing and innovation in batteries to enhance knowledge transfer to industry in this field. It draws on a circular economy and sustainability approach to cover the entire battery value chain as a flagship R&D and innovation centre.

Joan Guasch, director of International Development and Public Programmes at the Eurecat technology centre, presented several of the scheduled sessions at the congress.