In 1919, when the first car show was held in Barcelona, cars represented a modern, autonomous future that was out of reach for most people. One make, Maxwell, presented an engine capable of running for 44 days without a break and covering 35,000 kilometres.

The Barcelona motor show has been, and still is, a showcase for change, technological advances, in a sector which reflects like few others the changes in society (mass holidays, tourism, the growth of large cities, movement away from the place of work…) and which also has great economic importance due to the size of the automotive industry.

The time of the connected car is now. This is why the familiar car show, while remaining what it always was, is now Automobile and in Connected Hub it shows how far the revolution that has started will reach. This show is a reinvention of the motor show, and from 11 to 21 May, those who love cars and the new world of mobile communications have an event that they cannot afford to miss. The setting of Fira de Barcelona, home to such fairs as the Mobile World Congress (mobile communications), 4YFN (technological entrepreneurship) IoT Solutions World (Internet of things) and Smart City Expo World Congress (smart cities) is undoubtedly the best for steering the traditional car show format in a new direction.

Industrial weight

Connected cars, digital, safe and sustainable. This is something that interests consumers, but also the industry itself, which is fully aware of the direction consumer demand is pointing at. In Spain, Europe’s second largest producer, the automobile industry is of exceptional importance as it represents 10% of GDP. 80% of the three million cars made in 2017 will be exported.

There is still a long way to go. According to data from the sector, France has approved 50 million euros for improving infrastructures for electric vehicles, 6,000 euros to support purchase (10,000 if it involves taking a 10-year old Diesel engine off the roads). Germany Norway and Holland are also getting behind alternative energies while in Spain, the Plan Movea, with a budget of 16.6 million euros, is still on the blocks. It should go towards promoting the use of renewable energies for transport and to making the use of electric cars in Spain more than purely symbolic.

Today there are more than 50 million connected cars driving on the world’s roads, and there will be 700 million in only five years’ time. This has only just started. And then there is the driverless car as the great promise of the future.

The advantages of the connected car

  • Safety. According to a study by the German multinational Bosch there will be 11,000 traffic accident fatalities and some 260.000 collisions avoided around the world. One fundamental aspect will be the introduction in 2018 of the new standard “Red Button” for emergencies in European cars which will allow the geo-location of a vehicle involved in an accident.
  • Savings. The connected car, according to the same source, will prevent a cost of 4,430 million dollars in repairs.
  • Environment. Connected vehicles will prevent some 400,000 tons of CO2 being emitted.
  • Improved navigation, with alternative routes in the event of traffic jams.
  • Information about service stations and lower prices, weather conditions, news reports.

R.P.