“German engineering” is a byword for quality in the automotive industry, almost a cliche. And Ralf Klädtke personifies that concept. A 25-year veteran in the technology space, Ralf has only recently brought his considerable talents to automotive: He has been a captain in the German Air Force and a director at DARA/DLR, the German space agency, where he helped develop the crew return vehicle for the International Space Station. Ralf has also worked in leadership roles at companies such as Carl Zeiss Optronics, one of the most famous optics manufacturers in the world, as well as ZKW Group, a top automotive lighting and electronics company.
In this episode, Ralf talks with Derek D about an extensive array of topics that will affect the future of the whole automotive industry. This conversation covers Ralf’s predictions on when hydrogen fuel cells will overtake electric vehicles in market share, the many barriers facing fully autonomous or “self-driving” cars and why he believes autonomous trucks are much more feasible, and how the cities of the future will impact the entire transportation sector. Plus, Ralf discusses the present and future of connectivity and computing in cars, his experiences in countries from Switzerland to China, and more.
“When you look into the charging of the battery, if this is done by renewable energies, you can reduce the carbon footprint over the lifetime by something like 50-55%.”
— Ralf Klädtke
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