What will the cars of tomorrow look like? And how will people’s mobility requirements develop in the future? The development experts at Daimler and Mercedes-Benz find answers to basic questions like these with the help of such activities as market research and customer feedback, technology monitoring, and futurology research.
The company can look back on a long tradition of such activities. For over 30 years, interdisciplinary and international research teams have been working to anticipate long-term trends and social developments and to apply their conclusions to the area of mobility. This future-oriented way of working — which involves stocking up on ideas — generates new solutions that anticipate changing conditions and new customer requirements rather than merely reacting to them.
One of these innovations is the NAFA two-seater concept car (“NAFA” is the German acronym for “short-distance vehicle”), which Mercedes-Benz developed in the 1980s. Even then, the company was taking into account the trend of urbanization, which is proceeding at an ever faster pace today all over the world. The concept behind the NAFA was the starting point of a parallel development that resulted in two successful series-produced models in the 1990s: the Mercedes-Benz A-Class, as the founder of the segment of compact premium vehicles, and the smart, the pioneer of intelligent urban mobility. Both cars — as well as the Mercedes-Benz B-Class — were designed for alternative drive systems from the very start, and today they are pioneers of electric mobility with zero local emissions: as smart fortwo electric drive and Mercedes-Benz A-Class E-CELL with battery electric drive and as Mercedes-Benz B-Class F-CELL with electric drive using fuel cell technology. These vehicles are being used for purposes including “e-mobility” projects, for instance in Berlin and Italy (the smart fortwo electric drive and the A-Class E-CELL), and are thus helping to pave the way toward mobility with zero local emissions.
Source: Daimler AG