The automotive industry, with sales exceeding 400 bn euros, is without a shade of doubt one of the systemically relevant industries. Baden-Württemberg, which is home to more than 1,000 suppliers, is one of the biggest automotive clusters in Germany. Mega trends like electrification, digital transformation, autonomous driving and sharing models present huge challenges for the whole industry which need to be confronted. Thus, the State Government of Baden-Württemberg started an initiative in the summer of 2017, the Strategic Dialogue for the Automotive Sector in Baden-Württemberg, in which all relevant stakeholders cooperate to arrive jointly at potential solutions.
The Strategic Dialogue for the Automotive Sector in Baden-Württemberg presents a new format of institutionalised collaboration. It follows a holistic approach with the intent of tapping on innovation potential across industrial sectors. During seven years, projects, policies and concepts will be established in close communication between politics, industry, academy, employer associations, consumer organisations, environmental organisations and the civil society to successfully shape the transformation process in the economy of Baden-Württemberg.
During the first half of what will be at least a seven-year process, numerous projects and policies have been defined, initiated and implemented. The second half of the SDA is designed to be a visibility and ramp-up phase, meaning that the topic of scaling assumes a decisive role. In order to ensure international competitiveness into the future, the SDA is in the process of adopting a targeted approach to the significant upheaval caused by increasing digitalisation – which is set to spur rapid change in vehicles, production and mobility in general.
At the 2020 interim conference held to discuss the progress of the strategic dialogue, the following three focus topics were defined as part of the ‘roadmap to successful transformation’ moving forward:
These focus topics provided the basis for an overhaul of the SDA, involving a move to a new format that is even more interministerial and agile than before. Since the challenges over the coming years will have to be tackled by numerous ministries simultaneously, there is a need for enhanced collaboration. Since 2021/2022 the new structure supports these efforts and places greater emphasis on the focus topics of the SDA.
The new focus topic of ‘vehicles’ addresses the transformation of vehicle and component production, the fields of sales and aftersales, and the employees who work in these areas. Key issues include the future value-creation potential offered by increasing electrification and digitalisation, as well as the many SMEs in the supplier area who will require support during the transformation process.
The focus topic of ‘data’ primarily incorporates activities from the previous areas of ‘traffic solutions’ (including regulation, cooperation and data) and ‘digitalisation’. Both digitalisation and the necessary expansion of corresponding infrastructure are of major importance for the future of Baden-Württemberg as an industrial location. Through its ‘Datenagenda BW’ programme, the state aims to make better use of the innovation potential that data offers for industry, academia and society alike. This requires additional progress to be made in fields such as ‘automated and connected driving’ and ‘digital traffic management’ so as to boost climate-friendly mobility. Efforts to establish common mobility data rooms and mobility data spaces must also be
The focus topic of ‘energy’ encompasses issues from the previous areas of ‘energy’ (grids, hydrogen) and ‘traffic solutions’ (including synthetic fuels and the expansion of charging infrastructure). The ongoing expansion of grids and the availability of green energy are intrinsically linked to the scaling of charging infrastructure and the further development of alternative drive systems such as hydrogen/fuel cell or synthetic fuels. All future activities within the focus topic of ‘energy’ must therefore consider and deal with these issues in a holistic manner.
The innovation agency and competence centre of the State of Baden-Württemberg, e-mobil BW, in its capacity as innovation agency of the state for new mobility solutions and automotive will be coordinating the individual activities within the process. As an objective consultant for the state government, it will contribute to the process with its wealth of experience from numerous research and demonstration projects.