Connectivity & user experience
Frank Bekemeier, 61
Chief Technology Officer, e-Mobility Product Line, Volkswagen Group
TITLE: Chief Technology Officer, e-Mobility Product Line
COMPANY: Volkswagen Group
BASED: Wolfsburg, Germany
After studying industrial engineering in Cologne with a focus on automotive, Bekemeier started at Volkswagen in 1982, specializing in body-in-white design before rising to manager of complete body development in 2003 at sister brand Audi. A Spanish speaker, he has had three separate stints at VW Group subsidiary Seat, including vice president R&D from 2006 to 2011. After that, he served as executive director, product development at the VW Group's joint venture with SAIC in Shanghai. In March 2017, he took on overall engineering responsibility for the ID family of electric cars that are underpinned by VW Group's MEB platform.
REASON FOR WINNING
The VW ID3 features a new advanced electronics architecture called E cubed that offers super-fast data transfer rates. Dozens of control units are replaced by three centralized hubs dividing the vehicle into specific functions. Together with the first basic version of the VW.OS operating system, the hubs simplify software updates to enable not only upgrades but also updates that can introduce functions not yet foreseen, a feature that distinguishes the ID3 from the new Golf. VW's full-electric compact also uses ambient lighting to communicate with the driver, for example to provide navigational directions, under the name ID Light. A key option is the first use of an augmented reality head-up display in a compact car. While VW is still correcting a few technical glitches, the ID3 has the most ambitious UX in a European volume car.