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The 2020 Future Mobility of the Year Award winners are thinking very differently

In just the second year of our involvement with the Future Mobility of the Year Awards, I’m just amazed at how the whole concept of cars and mobility has changed.

Established by KAIST (Korea Advanced Institute for Science and Technology), a leading engineering and technology school, the awards are uniquely aimed not at production cars but rather concept and development vehicles. It has been very interesting seeing what companies are putting their money and development time behind, especially as the world has been changing into one where less people are as emotionally involved with cars as they may have been in the past.

Interestingly, none of the winners are powered by traditional gasoline or diesel.

The Private Mobility Award went to the Honda e-Concept, an interesting combination of a somewhat retro look and attitude, engaging driving dynamics and forward-thinking technology. Introduced to the world in 2019, the aesthetics and attitude quickly won hearts and minds from the Geneva Motor Show onwards. A clear example of how emotion and pleasure still hold a place in the car-buying decision process.

Finalists for this category included a wide range of vehicles, from the futuristic Lexus LF-30 Electrified Concept to the heavily-retro Mercedes-Benz Vision Simplex Concept.

The Public and Commercial Mobility Award went to a huge hydrogen-powered truck named the Neptune. The Hyundai HDC-6 Neptune Hydrogen is a big sleek semi-trailer Class 8 Heavy Duty truck powered by hydrogen fuel cell technology. Design cues were again taken from the past, specifically the streamlined Art Deco designs from the 1930s.

The propulsion though is all forward-thinking. Hyundai says they are able to achieve better range and faster refueling than full-electric systems. Finalists in this category include the highly flexible Toyota APM Mobility Vehicle and the Scania AXL Concept workhorse of a big truck.

The Personal Mobility Award went to the tiniest of the tiny. The Hyundai e scooter is barely anything more than two straight lines and two small wheels that fold and collapse upon themselves. It is not meant for long hauls or pleasure cruises, but rather that very last mile of your journey. Battery-powered, it could fit into a backpack or the side-saddle of a briefcase as you take a train or bus to a transport hub, with a 20km range and 20kph top speed. It then takes you the final few kilometers after which it can be charged at your desk at work. All contenders were single-seaters in this category, which included finalists Toyota Walking Area BEV and Audi e-scooter concept. The Hyundai e-scooter, folded up for carrying, could fit quite nicely on either of these.