The 8th Annual Future of Transport Conference: Discussing the unprecedented transformation of the European Automotive Sector

4 April 2023

Taking place on the day that EU Member states finally approved the regulation stating that cars and vans placed on the EU market must be zero-emission from 2035, and that a provisional agreement between the Parliament and Council was reached on the Alternative Fuels and Infrastructure Regulation, Forum Europe’s 8th Annual Future Transport Conference debated the most timely and relevant issues affecting road transport and the automotive sector, gathering over 200 participants throughout the day.


The conference opened with a keynote session featuring Adina Vălean, Commissioner for Transport, European Commission; Georges Gilkinet, Deputy Prime Minister & Minister for Mobility; Sigrid de Vries, Director General, European Automobile Manufacturers' Association (ACEA) who set the scene for the discussions held on the day, focusing on what is required to ensure a thriving European automotive market for 2035 and beyond; the role of the car in a multimodal mobility ecosystem; issues around affordability, and sustainability for the green and electric transition, as well as the role of data and digitalisation in the transformation of the sector.

The first panel of the day focused on The Transition to Zero-Emission Vehicles – Ensuring there is a market and a thriving industry for 2035 where, Mark Nicklas, Head of Unit, Mobility & Energy Intensive Industries, Mobility, DG GROW, European Commission; Holger Krahmer, Head of EU Affairs, Mercedes-Benz Group AG; Sofie Defour, Freight Director, Transport and Environment; Benjamin Denis, Senior Policy Advisor, IndustriAll Europe & Jeremy Rollison Senior Director, EU Government Affairs, Microsoft Europe explored the following questions with moderator Geraint Edwards, Managing Director, FiscalNote Europe: In the context of the 2023 year of European Skills, what will this major transformation of such a significant European sector mean for skills and employment to meet these obligations? How will the industry evolve? What role will there be for the continuation of the production of ICE vehicles for export? To avoid stunting the market for EVs, what needs to be done to ensure that supply chains are resilient, particularly in the case of both semiconductors and raw materials? How will so-called techno-nationalism interact with the development of the market for EVs through until 2035?

The second panel of the conference zoomed into issues relating to Electrification, Infrastructure and the Energy Markets, with our Chairman Paul Adamson, exploring with Renata Surowiec, Director Government Affairs, Ford Motor Company; Michael van der Sande, Managing Director, Europe, Lucid; Raluca Marian, Director, EU Advocacy & General Delegate, IRU the latest developments in the EU’s RePowerEU initiative, and what work is necessary to decouple Europe from unreliable energy sources. They also mentioned the development of Europe’s industrial base, including the building of new battery cell factories and other relevant energy-intensive industries and explored how car makers are innovating to drive down the total cost of ownership of EVs.

At the start of the afternoon, delegates heard from Ingrid de Keijser, Head of Press and Public Relations, Zeleros for an update on progress made towards a European Hyperloop which was followed by a second ‘Thinking Point’ from Joost Vantomme, Chief Executive Officer, ERTICO-ITS Europe covering a number on topics, ranging from the extent to which data and ITS can be considered as game changers for the automotive industry and what this truly means for users and citizens, the use of vehicles as part of the mobility mix including in urban environment, how the EU Industrial Strategy and Green Agenda truly interact, to some thoughts gearing towards the future on urban air mobility.

Finally, the event concluded with a panel on The Tilt to Software: Digitalisation, Connectivity and Data Access in the Revolution of the Vehicle led by Joost Vantomme, and including Max Lemke, Head of Unit, Internet of Things, DG CONNECT, European Commission; Michael Schäfer, Managing Director, Mobility Data Space, Germany, Juliana Koza, Senior Manager Government Affairs EMEA, Qualcomm; Mikael Isaksson, Public Affairs Officer, Volvo Cars and Marion Jungbluth, Team Leader, Mobility and Travel, Federation of German Consumer Organisations (vzbv). They examined how new electric vehicle architectures offer an opportunity to build vehicles with coherent software platforms from the ground up, and explored how European manufacturers are developing their software competencies. They covered the latest on the development of transport and mobility data spaces in the EU and highlighted how 5G-enabled technologies such as autonomous vehicles and vehicle-to-everything (V2X) communication are already starting to redefine the automotive sector by creating new revenue streams and business models and are used to make our roads and cities smarter and safer.

We would like to thank everyone who attended this year’s conference as well as our event sponsors, Microsoft, Qualcomm, and FiscalNote EU Issue Tracker.

We look forward to welcoming you to the 9th edition of this event and should you wish to become involved, please contact us at

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