April 26 - 30 | 2021

Speaker Interview

Aleksander Rzepecki


Mercedes Benz

1. Could you tell us more about any projects you are working on currently and/or your area of expertise?

Presently I am deeply involved into project which shifts our company cars fleet into electrified (mostly hybrid cars). This contains i.e. providing proper charging solutions for the fleet (possibility to charge a car at work, at home and at public places), implementing appropriate software into the company usage, education of the drivers and much more. Transforming into electric mobility is much more than simply buying electric/hybrid cars – it is changing the whole ecosystem and mindset. And understanding that in my own company is important in order to copy it in the other markets.

2. How is consumer demand for automotive shifting, and how will it look by 2030?

Consumers are shifting from “having” to “using” the car. Therefore I believe, that shared mobility services will be the key for further automotive industry development. The second extremely important trend is the electrification. At Mercedes-Benz, we plan to sell about 50% of our all cars electrified (electric or hybrid) by 2030.

3. What are the main ways in which digitalisation is creating opportunities for automotive manufacturing?

It opens the whole new world of business opportunities. As electric cars require less maintainance and thus lower the revenue in the industry, the digital offer of automotive industry is a cure. What is more, it transforms the traditional automotive industry into a pure, technological industry.

4. How are future technology trends changing patterns of collaboration with other actors (e.g. technology applications, research institutions, government bodies) for automotive innovation?

Cars and their ecosystems get more and more complex. They include now (except for the vehicle itself) various digital products, connectivity with smart homes, charging solutions, shared mobility services, battery offer and much more. As a consequence, more actors involved require more interactions between the parties. Most of the industry challenges cannot be simply solved by one actor or even by one group of them (e.g. OEM’s or governmental institutions). Therfore cooperation and interference is the key.

5. What are the key ways that suppliers can start preparing now for the shift towards EVs?

I would start with the mind-set and accepting the fact, that there is no way back to what was before. Fossil fuels will eventually end – the suppliers of combustion cars elements need to shift asap. And to start that, they firstly need to understand the new EV ecosystem, the new demand that is coming and therefore, find new areas of operations for themselves.

6. Why are second-life battery solutions important for electric vehicle manufacturers?

Batteries are the most expensive, most complicated and most dangerous part of an electric vehicle. Using these resources wisely is an absolute priority for the development of the whole industry. That is why this segment is so important.

7. What are some of the enduring challenges facing women in the automotive industry? How are companies working towards finding solutions?

Automotive industry has been a very masculine industry for years. This has historical background, but fortunately it is changing. At Mercedes-Benz we focus on diversity very much. It is not only one of our key values. We take it seriously when talking about our own employees (for example, at Mercedes-Benz factory in Jawor, Poland, about 40% of the crew are women), but also regarding our customers. Program “She’s Mercedes” is a process, mindset and promotional transformation into the feminine world.

 Aleksander Rzepecki