Olga Nevska: “Corporate Mobility is by far the biggest driver of the mobility turnaround. "

Around a third of the kilometres travelled in Germany are for work. Corporate mobility therefore plays an important role in the mobility revolution. Olga Nevska aims to electrify Telekom's entire fleet and talks about the challenges of this change and her own MaaS app "goodride" in an interview. 

The mobility turnaround also is visible in her private life. In a ranking of her most used means of transport, public transport comes out on top, followed by the electric car and her bicycle. When asked which vehicle she could do without, she says: "Privately, it would have to be the scooter, which unfortunately has no chance against the bicycle. For work, I usually don't go by plane because I mainly travel within Germany, which is why I can easily use the train” 

With more than 20,000 vehicles, Telekom maintains one of the largest vehicle fleets in Germany. At Telekom MobilitySolutions, you have set yourself the goal of converting your entire fleet to electric cars and want to have achieved this by 2030, from the company car fleet to the service car fleet. What unforeseen hurdles have you had to overcome so far in this process? 

As with any introduction of new technologies, the first step is to convince people to say goodbye to old habits and to think in a different way. In the case of the company car fleet, we have already successfully achieved this through good preparation and by raising awareness from an early point in time. With the service fleet, we are still facing technical challenges, as a sufficient charging network is not yet available everywhere in Germany. Our technicians have to be with the customers as quickly as possible at all times, especially in the event of a malfunction. We can't afford any wait and are therefore taking this process step by step. In addition, for a long time the range of products on the market did not match the technical requirements for our service vehicles. Now, we are making great progress there as well. 

Electrification is one of the levers to advance the (own) mobility turnaround. But this is still strongly centred around the car. What other measures are you using as a company to advance the mobility transition?

That is absolutely right! When we have converted our fleet to electric, we will still be stuck in traffic jams. That's why we need a paradigm shift. It's no longer just about the car.   

It is crucial that we look at employee mobility as a whole and keep ALL employees in mind. These are above all the numerous commuters, far too many of whom still drive to work in their own cars. That is why we have diversified in recent years and developed a range of mobility services - for example, shuttle or car-sharing services, attractive leasing offers for bicycles or the digital mobility platform “goodride”, which bundles different means of transport and offers a quick and easy mobility solution in every situation. Just as simple as having your own car at home.   

We are also rethinking our work routines. Topics such as business travel have become an important subject - i.e. fewer business trips, more virtual meetings - or Future Work like reducing traveltime through flexible working hours and home office. 

Mobility routines are learned and firmly anchored in everyday behaviour: How do you motivate employees to actively participate in the mobility transition? 

The topic of sustainability is high on the agenda at Deutsche Telekom, even our CEO takes part in our mobility events, such as the recent launch of the new Telekom bike. So, the awareness for the transformation of corporate mobility is there. You can also see that there are a number of self-organised employee initiatives, such as the so-called Green Pioneers or an e-driver community.

But of course our job is far from over. Success factor number one is providing an attractive and diverse offer. A second lever is simplicity: we are digitalising access to all functions and processes related to mobility. Whether it's booking a shuttle ride, finding an electric charging station or leasing a bike - everything is done through apps, even when you're on the move. Lever number three is communication. We talk about what we do, we let our customers, i.e. Telekom employees, have their say and even our board members set a good example as role models and talk about their mobility habits as part of the "I Ride Green" campaign. In the end, however, a set of rules is important as well. After good preparation, you have to make certain decisions, such as the adjustment of the car policy, which states that only electric vehicles may be ordered. 

With “goodride”, you have developed a MaaS app that bundles different mobility services. In three sentences: What is your mission with “goodride”? 

I don't need three sentences for that, I can do it in three words 😉 :

With “goodride”, mobility becomes simple, seamless and sustainable. 

How is “goodride” different from other MaaS apps? 

With “goodride”, the focus is on people and connecting their living environments. Depending on the need and destination, our platform always offers the right mobility option - without borders.  Other MaaS apps in Germany are operated by local transport companies or associations whose offers are restricted to their respective regions. However, this contradicts the mobility needs of people who want to use one app, everywhere they go - i.e. across all transport associations. “Goodride” can provide you with a complete solution. 

If we think further and the MaaS app has become the standard companion in the shared mobility world, then other mobility occasions will also be taken into account and will go beyond of just mastering a route from A to B. Keyword family shopping. We will see services in trade, health, tourism, etc. adapt to the special features of shared mobility. And for this we need a MaaS app that integrates a discounter chain, for example, for the whole of Germany. 

With Telekom MobilitySolutions, you are taking on a pioneering role with regard to the corporate mobility turnaround. What role does corporate mobility play in the mobility revolution in general? And where do we stand here in Germany? 

Corporate mobility is by far the biggest driver of the transport revolution. Nowhere else are so many CO2 emissions produced as on the way to work. The interconnectedness between private and professional life also plays a role here. That is why we as employers bear a special responsibility in deciding which mobility options we offer our employees. I see it as our task to positively influence the switch to shared mobility by creating a variety of offers and incentives.   

Where do we stand in Germany? You read the answer to this question every day in the media: we are too slow, the infrastructure is dilapidated, public transport is overloaded, etc. Personally, I haven't given up hope yet. If everyone pulls together and hangs up their egoisms, Germany will manage more than we think. 

What do you give to your companions who are still in this process? Please complete the sentence: In order for the mobility transition to succeed in a company, what are the main factors that are needed?

As with every transformation, these are the factors 1) courage to change, 2) strength of implementation and 3) consistency. 

The future of mobility is a complex issue. What question concerns you most in this regard? 

Why do we in Germany still lack a common vision of what kind of mobility we need and a plan on how to get there? 

And to whom would you ask this question? 

Our Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz. 

 

About: Dr Olga Nevska holds a doctorate in economics and law and has been Managing Director of Telekom MobilitySolutions since 2019. There she is responsible for the transformation of one of Germany's largest corporate fleets into an innovative mobility provider. Before joining Deutsche Telekom in 2009, she worked for the German Bundestag, Roland Berger and Axel Springer. She is a member of the Board of Directors of T-Mobile Czech Republic as well as an advisory board member and guest lecturer at the University of St. Gallen.