E-bike boom in Germany: Two million electric bikes sold last year alone

  • 2020 was the year of e-bikes: Around two million people bought new electric bikes in Germany.
  • A total of five million bikes were sold, although sales of non-electric bikes were roughly on par with the previous year.
  • The sharp rise in sales of e-bikes cannot be explained solely by the Corona pandemic. There has already been a positive trend here for several years.
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Home improvement stores, garden centers, and bike stores have benefited the most from the 2020 Corona restrictions. Bicycle sales increased 17 percent in 2020, according to a recent study by the Two-Wheeler Industry Association (ZIV), though much of that was due to a 43 percent increase in e-bikes sold.

While 1.4 million e-bikes were sold in 2019, this figure had already risen to 2.0 million by 2020. Growth in sales of non-powered bikes was manageable: In 2020, bike stores sold 100,000 more bikes than the year before.

Bike retailers benefit from the e-bike boom

For bicycle dealers, the e-bike trend is bringing goldmine cheer. In 2020, dealers’ sales totaled just under 10 billion euros, of which 6.4 billion euros in sales were attributable to e-bike sales. For several years, the share of e-bikes sold has been increasing compared to normal bicycles.

The average price of a bike sold is striking: a proud 1,279 euros were paid on average, which is approximately 40 percent more than in the previous year. The ZIV sees here the trend that more and more citizens are reaching for high-quality and safe products.

Soon, half of all bicycles sold will have an electric drive.

Thus, significantly more bicycles are sold with electric drive than without, which is due to the advanced technology and the general enthusiasm of citizens. According to the ZIV, in the medium and long term, e-bikes could account for as much as 50 percent of all bicycles sold. Currently, the number of bicycles in Germany is estimated at 79.1 million with 7.1 million e-bikes, but again, the ratio is likely to change in the future.

Currently, the market is tight due to extremely high demand, and longer delivery times may occur in some cases. However, spare parts are not currently affected. The ZIV expects a further increase in the number of e-bikes sold in Germany in the coming year.

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Ransomware incidents increase 4-fold in 2 years: Spain suffered fewer attacks and was more aware in 2020 than USA, France or Italy

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Ransomware is a type of malicious code that when introduced into the systems of a company or an organization is dedicated to encrypting all its files and spread across all devices. It has thus become a favorite weapon of cybercriminal groups who then demand ransoms from their victims in exchange for a return to normality.

Precisely because of the pandemic, such incidents increased by nearly 90% according to a VMware report. Now, expanding the focus, CrowdStrike ensures in a new document that this type of cyber-attacks has increased 4-fold from January 2019 to the present.

An increase of 300%, according to the Global Threat Report for 2021. Although only a few cases are reported in the media -the most recent and controversial is the cyberattack with Ryuk that has left the systems of the Public Employment Service out of service-, the reality is that cyberattacks with ransomware are the order of the day.

The second half of 2019 already saw a wave of cyberattacks that fiercely hit some Spanish companies such as Everis and Prosegur. Just before the pandemic began in March last year, a hospital in Torrejón de Ardoz suffered a cyberattack that caused many healthcare workers to have to operate without IT resources.

Unions and Computer Science associations explode and denounce precariousness and lack of resources in the administration while the SEPE tries to recover from the cyber-attack.

During the pandemic, the situation worsened even more. SegurCaixa Adeslas or Mapfre suffered cyber-attacks of this kind. In addition, one of the worst fears of the cybersecurity industry came true: cybercriminal groups no longer limited themselves to ‘kidnapping’ and ‘encrypting’ their victims’ information: they also began to steal it in order to leak it to the public if ransoms were not paid. It happened, for example, to the Spanish railway infrastructure company, Adif.

CrowdStrike’s new report, which has been compiled using its network analysis tools and information from various vendors, also highlights that intrusions aimed at stealing information on COVID-19 vaccines have been one of the main targets of cybercriminals.

Another statistic from the cybersecurity company states that 40% of companies in Spain suffered a ransomware attack during the most complicated period of the pandemic last year. Out of the 100%, 23% of the firms acknowledge that they suffered one attack, and 17% that they suffered more than one.

However, the data shown by the Spanish cybersecurity ecosystem are very positive. In a table drawn up by the firm, Spain is the second country in which the companies consulted suffered the fewest attacks with ransomware. It is only surpassed by the United Kingdom, where 39% of the companies detected intrusions in their systems.

By neighboring countries, France acknowledges that 60% of its companies suffered ransomware incidents. The number is similar in Germany, with 59%. In Italy, 56%. In the United States, 58%. The global average is that 63% of the companies surveyed suffered cyber-attacks of this type.

This is what cybercriminals pay on the dark web for your data: stolen Spanish credit cards are among the most expensive, only 30 euros.

But Spain also stands out in something else. Of all those surveyed in Spain, 45% acknowledged that they had not suffered any ransomware incident but recognized that it could happen in the coming months. Of all the Spanish cybersecurity specialists consulted by the company, only 14% considered it unlikely that they would suffer an attack of this type.

That 45% is the highest percentage of all the countries surveyed by the firm. Specialists in France or Italy, for example, considered 28% and 27% that they could suffer incursions such as those described.

The high percentage of Spanish cybersecurity experts who admit that they could suffer a cyberattack of this kind in the coming months can be interpreted in two ways. Either they are resigned because they lack all the defenses they should have, or they are clearly aware that incidents can happen at any time.

The CrowdStrike survey has been done with 2,200 cybersecurity professionals around the world, of which 1,100 have a position with which they make decisions in their companies and the other 1,100 are professionals. In Spain, 100 people were surveyed.

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The SEPE did not have certificates from the Cryptologic Center at the time it suffered its great hacking

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The SEPE continues at half throttle in the wake of the cyberattack it suffered last week. While its system technicians are trying to restore all services as quickly as possible, day after day details are emerging about what happened behind the incident.

One of these details is that the Public Employment Service was not yet certified by the National Cryptologic Center. The CCN is a body under the CNI that ensures compliance and certification of administrations and companies on the National Security Scheme.

According to Invertia this Thursday, the employment agency was not on the list of administrations certified in the National Security Scheme of the CCN. The list does include several regional ministries of Andalusia, several city councils, and various entities of the General State Administration. The list is public and accessible and can be consulted here.

Specialist sources consulted by the economic media point out that the adaptation to the National Security Scheme is “an ongoing process” and that the CCN is already working precisely with the SEPE in adapting and adapting its computer systems to the requirements demanded by this certification.

What is known at the moment is that the SEPE was hit by a ransomware-type malicious code known as Ryuk. When the news came out on Tuesday, which was reported by Vozpópuli, the agency’s technicians had to shut down all the systems in order to prevent the intruder program from spreading through the entity’s internal networks.

This computer blackout lasted for days, which forced SEPE officials to work for days with pen and paper, taking notes of the job seekers who requested an appointment or a procedure, while waiting for normality to be restored.

Cyber-attacks on the administration soar after the blow to the SEPE: a tax agency warns that it is being supplanted with malicious emails.

Ransomware usually hits companies and public administrations with the aim of encrypting files, hard disks, and, in general, an organization’s servers. When the organization is compromised, it usually receives a message from the cyber criminals operating the attacking program demanding a ransom if the victim wants to get back to normal.

In recent months, these ransomware attacks have been transformed and cybercriminals now also engage in a second form of blackmail: if victims do not pay the ransom, the cyber criminals threaten to publish all the sensitive information they have stolen during the attack.

Colleges, unions, and associations have lamented the disinvestment in cybersecurity that has taken place in recent years in the public administration. ASTIC, an organization of systems technicians from the administration itself, warned in a recent communiquéthat the pandemic had prioritized the continuity of services or business over security. It claimed that it was time to “make up for lost time”.

It is still unclear how Ryuk was able to reach SEPE. Ransomware can be distributed via malicious phishing emails and botnets. In other words: they are not always targeted, premeditated attacks.

During the worst months of the pandemic, many of the cybercriminal collectives operating this ransomware promised that they would not attack hospitals, healthcare facilities, or laboratories. However, many of these malicious codes, when distributed by armies of bots-imprisoners, webcams, compromised servers and controlled as if it were an army of zombies – sometimes shooting everything.

Some specialists pointed out to Business Insider Spain that the attack could well have come that way or through phishing known as spear phishing. Just like a fraudulent email masquerading as a legitimate message, spear phishing has the particularity that in order to work, the attackers have spied on and studied a person to the millimeter.

For example, these cybercriminals could have sent a fraudulent email to a SEPE employee pretending to be a relative or a friend, which would make him trust and click on a link he should not have clicked on and which automatically downloaded Ryuk onto the SEPE’s computer systems.

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Appetites for pleasure are changing – Poles buy more lube, fewer condoms

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Poles are trying to make the situation caused by the pandemic more pleasant. Double-digit increases are recorded among others in the sale of wine or lubricants – writes wiadomoscihandlowe.pl. The website points out that the demand for condoms is falling.

As we read, NielsenIQ data show that last year the sales of food and chemical products grew strongly. Interestingly, the pandemic has increased Poles’ appetite for various kinds of pleasure. Thus the sales of wine (11 percent), olives (12 percent), moldy cheese (13 percent), bath lotions (12 percent), and scented candles increased.

Magdalena Piwkowska, trends & content development leader at the Nielsen agency, says that growths were also recorded in lube ( 15 percent) and stimulating products ( 15 percent) – vibrators and vibrating pads.

See also: Pandemic proved salutary for Frisco store. Eurocash results surprised the market

During the pandemic, Poles buy more lubricants and fewer condoms

The sales of condoms, on the other hand, fell, although – as wiadomoscihandlowe.pl reports – the trend of falling sales in the channels monitored by NielsenIQ was also visible before the pandemic.

Piwkowska points out that “in the Czech Republic, during the panic buying period, there was even “stockpiling” of the condom category (21%). – Subsequently, their sales slowed down, while the sales of stimulants and pregnancy tests increased,” the expert said quoted by the website.

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Why German Agriculture Minister Klöckner doesn’t listen to recommendations from nature conservation associations

  • Germany alone has received around 6.2 billion euros from the EU in each of the past few years to support its own farmers.
  • Nature conservation organizations criticize that a large part flows into subsidies that farmers receive merely for their farmed areas. So the bigger the farm, the more money there is. Environmental requirements do not have to be met. They are therefore calling for the abolition of such direct payments.
  • But Agriculture Minister Julia Klöckner (CDU) wants to stick to the existing system and tie the subsidies only slightly to environmental requirements. Recommendations of the associations will not be taken into account.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

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For years, conservationists and animal rights activists have been at odds with representatives of farmers’ and food associations over EU agricultural subsidies. The environmentalists demand that the billions in subsidies only be paid out if farmers meet environmental requirements. The farmers’ lobby, on the other hand, is sticking to subsidies without such requirements. To date, there is no consensual solution as to how the money should be distributed.

It is a contentious issue that is currently also being discussed in the so-called “Commission on the Future of Agriculture”. Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) set up the body at the end of 2020 as a “forum for reconciling interests”. The 31 members are to develop new approaches to agricultural policy for the next ten years. Opponents such as nature conservationists and animal rights activists as well as farmers’ and agricultural associations sit at the table.

However, nature and animal conservationists are now accusing Agriculture Minister Julia Klöckner (CDU) of not listening to the expert opinions of the commission. Instead, she is stubbornly pursuing her own plans. This gives the impression that she merely does not want to scare away farmers as potential voters for the CDU/CSU shortly before the Bundestag elections.

Tax money flows partly unconditionally to farmers

Behind the dispute lies a larger problem: “Currently, billions of taxpayer dollars are being given unconditionally to farmers who poison groundwater, accelerate species extinction, and drive climate change,” criticizes Martin Kaiser, executive director of Greenpeace Germany, for example, in an interview with Business Insider. “If we take the climate crisis seriously, the system has to be changed,” he says. Otherwise, the billions in taxes that farmers receive from subsidies could no longer be justified.

In fact, Germany receives around 6.2 billion euros a year from the European Union under the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) to support its own farmers. But of the subsidies for Germany, a large portion (4.9 billion euros) goes to grants that farmers receive for their land alone. So the bigger the farm, the more money there is. It is supposed to secure their income, even if prices fluctuate. In return, however, they have hardly had to comply with environmental or animal welfare regulations. Farmers who do not keep their animals in a species-appropriate manner or who emit a lot of greenhouse gases also receive money.

Klöckner’s plan on agriculture could change the subsidy system

Julia Klöckner (CDU) would now have the chance to change the system. She is currently working on a national strategy for how EU money will be distributed in Germany in concrete terms over the next seven years. Since the Commission for the Future is also dealing with these issues, it would actually make sense to wait for the experts’ recommendations there first. But that is apparently not what is wanted.

According to Uwe Feiler (CDU), Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture, the commission is not expected to comment on current events. That NGOs publish their own maximum demands is legitimate, he said. But they should not give the impression that they are speaking for the Future Commission on Agriculture as a whole, Feiler added. After all, there is not yet a unified position on the Common Agricultural Policy and its mandate is a longer-term one.

This is criticism that nature and animal conservationists, however, do not want to accept. With the national plan for agriculture, Julia Klöckner (CDU) is now setting the course for the next seven years, says Martin Kaiser. Billions of taxpayers’ money could be used to achieve the goals of the Paris climate protection agreement in agriculture by 2027. But if Klöckner sticks to the system of unconditional payments, as it currently looks like, these targets can no longer be achieved in time. This would also mean that further work in the Commission would no longer make sense.

The Commission was already working on a statement

In addition, the commission had been much further ahead than the ministry claimed. Accordingly, a working group of the Commission had already formulated a draft for a statement of the body on agricultural subsidies at the end of January. It stated that the current area-based direct payments should be “gradually and largely to completely” abolished and the subsidies should instead be tied to environmental protection requirements. This was a historic step, as it was the first time that environmentalists and farmers’ associations had been able to reach an agreement on this issue, at least internally. The only thing that remained open was the date on which the subsidies were to be abolished: The wording only provided for “in the course of the next two subsidy periods”, i.e. until 2027 or until 2034.

However, Klöckner apparently tried to prevent precisely this statement by the Commission, according to Commission circles. According to her own plans, she wants to continue to pay out 60 to 70 percent of the subsidies depending on the area. For it suggests environmental protection conditions, but the nature protection federation Germany (Nabu) had criticized it as insufficient. Klöckner is not talking about abolishing the area subsidies.

Klöckner is said to have wanted to prevent a statement from the Commission

According to sources within the Commission, the minister’s interference in the panel’s work is said to have gone so far that Klöckner made phone calls to Commission members before and even during a meeting in February to discuss the statement on agricultural subsidies in order to prevent a final official statement.

When asked by Business Insider, the German Ministry of Agriculture and Food does not comment on the matter.

The response only says that the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy is already facing a system change. In the future, every euro of subsidy money is to be linked to environmental and climate requirements, among other things. In addition, the Commission for the Future of Agriculture is an independent commission. The members are, of course, free to agree on the transformation of direct payments.

Criticism comes from former Agriculture Minister Renate Künast (Greens): “The fact that Ms. Klöckner is not starting to systematically transform agricultural subsidies is a betrayal of young people because this sector does too little for climate protection,” she tells Business Insider. But it is also a betrayal of farming families, she adds, because she does not help them or reward them when they convert their farms to be climate-friendly.

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Crack in the German trade association: Non-food retailers like Kik criticize special treatment for food retailers

  • In light of the ongoing partial lockdown, many non-food retailers such as Kik, Deichmann and S.Oliver are complaining about unequal treatment by politicians compared to food retailers. They have therefore launched an initiative to make their voices heard before politicians.
  • As Business Insider has learned from industry circles, some members are not satisfied with the representation by the German Retail Association (HDE). The HDE, they say, is closer to food retailers than to non-food retailers.
  • The head of Kik, for example, emphasizes that the initiative was created together with the HDE, but also says that a uniform representation of interests across the different sectors is not always easy.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

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German retailers have been in lockdown for months. For many non-food retailers, the situation is now “dramatic,” warned the head of fashion retailer Breuninger recently, for example. While grocery stores and drugstores have been allowed to remain open without restriction, many other businesses are facing the loss of their livelihood.

That is why tensions have now formed within the German Retail Association (HDE). “Non-food retailers fear for their livelihoods, while food retailers and drugstores are raking in record sales,” said Kik CEO Patrick Zahn when asked by Business Insider. What the textile discounter CEO particularly dislikes is that many grocery retailers have expanded their offerings of apparel and other non-food products during the crisis, he said. “This imbalance needs to be addressed equally within the association and externally,” Zahn says.

As Business Insider has learned from industry circles, some non-food retailers are not entirely satisfied with the HDE’s representation. The tenor: due to the HDE’s historically closer ties with the food trade, the association has not done enough for the interests of textile and non-food retailers. The focus here is on HDE President Josef Sanktjohanser, who as a former board member at Rewe has already represented the strong position of food retailers in the leading association for 15 years.

“Differences of interest within the association” must be balanced out

In the past, Kik has “always maintained a professional and extremely helpful exchange with the HDE’s specialist departments” and the HDE has represented its interests well, explains Kik boss Patrick Zahn. At the same time, however, he lets it be known that “the current exceptional situation has shown, however, that there is an increased need for internal coordination between the food retail sector, which is traditionally strongly represented in the HDE, on the one hand, and the non-food sector, on the other.” This wording strengthens the suspicion that there is a feeling of internal unequal treatment. This issue needs to be addressed together with the HDE, it continues. Uniform representation of interests is not always easy to establish across its large number of members and their different sectors.

The companies Thalia, Kik, ECE, Breuninger, S.Oliver, Deichmann, Garhammer, Ernsting’s family, and Katag, therefore, joined forces in February to form the initiative “Das Leben gehört ins Zentrum” (Life belongs in the center) to make their interests heard vis-à-vis politicians. Not against, but alongside the HDE, as Zahn emphasizes. The German Retail Association (HDE) and around 50 other well-known companies support the alliance, according to the website. The campaign organizers initiated meetings with the Minister of Economics and Finance, at which they presented, among other things, a 7-point plan “for safe, hygienic store opening to revitalize German city centers.”

On the one hand, the initiative calls for equal treatment with the grocery trade and for the possibility of reopening stores to be based not only on current incidence figures but also on the occupancy of intensive care beds. Representatives also called for eliminating the sales cap on Corona aid. Because the nine campaign initiators all have sales of more than one billion euros a year under normal circumstances, they previously did not receive any state compensation for losses, as this only applied to companies with annual sales of up to 750 million euros. This regulation was abolished by Economics Minister Altmaier (CDU) at the beginning of March – but only after the meeting, following pressure from the company bosses. This was an initial success for the initiative.

But wouldn’t this have been the task of the trade association?

The association defends itself. “It is more than understandable that the nerves of many forcibly closed dealers are bare. Nevertheless, we have achieved a lot for our retailers, especially in the non-food sector,” it says. For example, HDE President Sanktjohanser has represented the entire retail sector to politicians and the public in top-level talks with members of the German government and the Chancellor, such as last week’s social partner dialog. There, for example, he had called for the “necessary opening perspective and finally effective economic aid” for the closed trade in talks with the Chancellor. The association had accompanied the initiative from the beginning and welcomed it, “as creative, attention-grabbing and joint campaigns such as these, which optimally and visibly complement the political representation of interests of the HDE.”

There are even reports from non-food retailers that they are considering splitting off from the HDE. So far, however, none of the companies has officially confirmed this. The textile discounter Kik informs Business Insider on request: “Kik is not involved in such considerations and can therefore not confirm this plan.”

The non-food retailers’ own initiative could be interpreted as a solo effort out of frustration. However, no retailer wants to admit this openly, although the statements of the Kik boss also indicate this. A Deichmann spokesman also said that the initiative sees itself as a “cooperative, constructive complement to the HDE, which represents the entire industry well, and works hand in hand with it.” S.Oliver CEO Claus-Dietrich Lahrs also told Business Insider something similar.

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Top model with hybrid module and downsizing from 10 to 8 cylinders: This is how Lamborghini wants to accelerate in technological change

  • VW is the parent company of the noble Italian brand Lamborghini and, according to CEO Herbert Diess, is pushing ahead with the transformation from “old car” to “new car” – at full speed, without exception.
  • In view of ever-stricter emissions regulations, Lamborghini has to take vigorous countermeasures; in China, for example, the fuel-intensive twelve-cylinder engines have been dropped from the range.
  • Sustainability in the production of its supercars is also rapidly gaining importance for Lamborghini and the company’s customers worldwide.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

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Around the globe, people sit up and take notice as soon as Automobili Lamborghini is mentioned. The neighbors, for example, who had been sleeping until then – when an owner of the top model Aventador with at least 740 hp starts its roaring twelve-cylinder engine at an early hour in the morning.

The customers of the Italian luxury label with the fighting bull in its logo are mostly solvent – even more so when the executives of the Wolfsburg-based Lamborghini parent company VW talk about the engines of the future.

This was also the case on Tuesday of this week when Herbert Diess analyzed the course of the 2020 financial year. “Electromobility has made the running,” the VW CEO emphasized. Diess added, “But the transformation will not happen overnight. It will take two life cycles to move from the ‘old car’ to the ‘new car’.”

“Old car” – that is, at least with regard to the powertrains of the sports cars from Sant’Agata Bolognese, what most Lamborghini fans expressly want: whether internal combustion engines with eight cylinders in the SUV Urus, with their ten in the “small” two-seater Huracán or even with twelve in the “big” Aventador – the classically designed internal combustion engines of the Italians are unquestionably among the most important purchase criteria for the Lamborghini clientele, alongside the edgy design of the cars.

But that is precisely a problem. And a big one at that. This is because legislators around the world are imposing ever-stricter fuel consumption and emission limits. This is also the case in China, which together with Macau and Hong Kong is the third most important sales region for Lamborghini (after the USA and Germany).

As Business Insider has learned from VW Group sources, Lamborghini’s top product, the Aventador model family, can no longer be offered as a new car in the Middle Kingdom.

The background: homologation of the twelve-cylinder models, which are as powerful as they are fuel-thirsty, for China has become too expensive for Lamborghini in the meantime, because the Aventador, which has already been in production since 2011, is nearing the end of its life.

The manufacturer quotes a combined consumption of 18.0 liters per hundred kilometers of distance for the top-of-the-line Aventador SVJ Roadster. Its emissions of the greenhouse gas CO2 – also determined in the WLTP test cycle – are no less than 448 grams per kilometer.

“The dirty dozen” in the rear of the Aventador could be adapted once again to Chinese emissions regulations by Lamborghini engineers led by development chief Maurizio Reggiani at great technical expense. However, the costs for this would be so immense that the controllers around Federico Foschini, Lamborghini’s Chief Marketing & Sales and Procurement Officer, wave them off.

Especially since the successor to the Aventador is expected to be launched on the market in two years’ time. And then with a hybridized drive system that combines a new twelve-cylinder engine with an electric module. Lamborghini has already shown how this can work with the two-seater Sián FKP 37. With its “E-Turbo” (Lamborghini term) based on supercapacitors, the limited-edition flounder has a system output of 819 hp. In addition, the two-door car with a speed of more than 350 km/h is considered a holy grail among Lamborghini collectors due to its name after VW patriarch Ferdinand Karl Piëch, born in 1937, who died in 2019 – hence FKP 37.

The engine of the Huracán successor was also adapted to the new car world. In the not too distant future, Lamborghini plans to replace the ten-cylinder engine it has been using with an eight-cylinder unit developed in-house. In addition to this downsizing, the new entry-level model, which is expected in 2024 at the earliest, is likely to be hybridized. A plug-in hybrid version of the Urus SUV is expected much earlier.

In the long term, Lamborghini CEO Stephan Winkelmann revealed in an interview with the Handelsblatt newspaper, the Italians will only manufacture purely electrically powered supercars. VW’s premium brand Audi, with which Lamborghini is organizationally docked, is in the midst of its electrification offensive, as brand boss Markus Duesmann recently explained in an interview with Business Insider.

Automobili Lamborghini is also upgrading technology at its main plant. A 17,000-square-meter photovoltaic system on the company premises in Sant’Agata Bolognese contributes to the company’s sustainability, as does the state-of-the-art paint shop for the Urus. Already, 95 percent of the paints used there are water-based – a comparatively environmentally friendly technology. The Italians wash out the majority of potentially harmful solvents with a cleaning system that they operate using waste heat from the production process anyway.

Not far from the main plant, the so-called Lamborghini Park was inaugurated in 2011. “It is dedicated to the initiative ‘Lamborghini for Biodiversity – Oak Forest Research Project’, in the framework of which more than 10,000 young oaks have been planted in the municipality of Sant’Agata Bolognese in an area of approximately 70,000 square meters,” the company said. “It is an experimental study to investigate the relationship between plants, their density of cultivation, climate, and CO2, carried out in collaboration with the municipality of Sant’Agata Bolognese and the universities of Bologna, Bolzano, and Munich.”

All Lamborghini fans who would like to find out more details about the eco-balance of the Italians are recommended to read the collection of materials “Automobili Lamborghini Environmental Statement”. On 84 pages you can read how the Italians have reduced the electricity consumption per new car in their factory from 2017 to 2019. Or what is planned in Sant’Agata Bolognese for the installation of charging stations for electric vehicles.

All Lamborghini fans, on the other hand, who are worried about the desirability of the noble label’s engines, may be reassured by a promise from Arno Antlitz. The designated CFO of the VW Group emphasized at the aforementioned financial year analysis: “There is no question that strong individual brands will continue to be a differentiating factor in the future.

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Luxury made in Germany: Millionaires travel in these motorhomes

  • Camping is booming. Every year, new registrations of caravans and motorhomes reach new records.
  • Volkner Mobil, a company based in Wuppertal, Germany, specializes in luxury-class motorhomes.
  • The motorhomes cost between 400,000 and two million euros. They are custom-built for each customer.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

This is an automated machine translation of an article published by Business Insider in a different language. Machine translations can generate errors or inaccuracies; we will continue the work to improve these translations. You can find the original version here.

The motorhomes that Volkner Mobil makes cost more than most single-family homes in Germany. They are custom-built for each customer – and no luxury has to be sacrificed in the process.

Camping is booming. Every year, new registrations of caravans and motorhomes reach new records. In 2020, there were 107,000 – an increase of more than 40 percent compared to the previous year. At the same time, the industry generated 12.5 billion euros in Germany, according to the Caravaning Industrie-Verband. And manufacturers are optimistic about the future because younger people, in particular, are interested in camper vacations.

“Camping used to mean brushing my teeth at the sink with 20 other people and someone going to the bathroom behind me,” says Stephanie Volkner, who runs the Wuppertal-based company with her husband, in an interview with Business Insider. “Today, camping means flexibility and freedom. You can cook your own spaghetti bolognese for dinner one day and go out to eat at a fancy restaurant the next.”

Company founder Gerhard Volkner had the right instinct. Originally, the trained locksmith manufactured trailers and commercial vehicles. One day he bought his parents a motorhome. But he was dissatisfied with it when he used it himself, as his wife tells it. That’s why he simply built one himself, based on a truck chassis. “In 1997, he exhibited it for the first time at a trade show,” Stephanie Volkner says. “And then it took off.”

Most campers cost between 1.1 and 1.8 million euros

The first models still had a rear garage in which a car could be stowed away for joyrides at the vacation spot. Volkner later redesigned the vehicle: the garage came in the middle, the engine in the back. The entrepreneur patented the center garage. “Unlike the rear garage, this way there are no restrictions on the interior space,” Volkner says. The garage can be extended and used as a patio. A retractable wall – called a wall-out – also provides more living space.

Stephanie Volkner has been with the company since 1998, and the couple has two sons together. Last year, the eldest started an apprenticeship as a body and vehicle builder in the family business – voluntarily, as the mother emphasizes.

Volkner does not want to reveal how many motorhomes the company builds each year. Only this much: “We get more orders than we can deliver.” It takes two years from the first contact to delivery of the vehicle.

Such motorhomes have their price. Customers have to put down at least 400,000 euros for them. Most of their campers, however, cost between 1.1 and 1.8 million euros, according to Volkner – a good ten to twenty times that of a normal motorhome.

Unobtrusive on the outside, luxurious on the inside

From the outside, the vehicles usually resemble normal coaches. Inside, however, you’ll usually find a fully equipped kitchen complete with a dishwasher, a large seating area, a bathroom, and a bedroom.

Despite their size, motorhomes can be parked on normal campsites or pitches. In some countries, they are also allowed to stand free for a night. Their motorhomes are completely self-sufficient, Volkner says, and hold 750 to 1,000 liters of fresh water. During construction, the entrepreneurs make sure that nothing can go wrong on the road: “Basically, the motorhomes are built like airplanes. Nothing must fail during the flight. That’s why all the important units are duplicated. That way, the vacation can continue after no more than a few manual operations.”

Volkner delivers their motorhomes worldwide, although the main focus is in Europe. Their customers, he says, are very diverse, from young to old and from different industries – from professional athletes to politicians. Even the military has ordered. “But the bulk is clearly entrepreneurs who want to travel freely and flexibly,” Volkner says. Some also use it for business, to drive to different locations, and travel in comfort. Then the camper is also used as a mobile office.

Fancy special requests, on the other hand, are ordered by her affluent customers much less often than many people think. “Basically, anything goes, but most customers don’t want any frills at all,” the businesswoman says. “Of course, we’ll install a whirlpool if that’s what’s requested, but most customers would rather go to a wellness center for that. It’s less hassle.”

Racers, however, like to have a walk-out roof deck from which they can watch the track. Others want to have a pull-out kitchen outside, complete with a beer tap, or a place to store their boat.

A truck driver’s license is required to drive the motorhomes. In Europe, owners usually drive their vehicles themselves, while this is unthinkable in other countries, says Volkner. There, people prefer to hire a driver: “But sometimes drivers take the motorhome to a certain place, Stockholm, for example, where the owners can fly there and then start a trip through Sweden, Norway, and Finland.”

Many customers send travel greetings to Wuppertal from the road. One has just spent four weeks driving through northern Norway at minus 20 degrees, while another sends pictures from southern Spain, the entrepreneur says. For couples, however, the classic division of roles still prevails: “The man takes care of the technology, the woman takes care of the interior.”

Taking vacations themselves is part of the Volkners’ job, so to speak: The family tests the motorhomes themselves. “Otherwise they wouldn’t be as good,” says the boss, laughing.

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Rural areas, the new home of innovation: what is empty Spain (or part of it) doing to ride the wave of digitalization?

This is an automated machine translation of an article published by Business Insider in a different language. Machine translations can generate errors or inaccuracies; we will continue the work to improve these translations. You can find the original version here.

José V. Roces, a postdoctoral researcher at the Creaf center, finished his Ph.D. five years ago and left Spain in 2017 in search of international experience. Although he explains to Business Insider Spain that he was not forced to leave, he emphasizes that it becomes an almost indispensable condition in research, which especially affects many female colleagues, who on many occasions decide to leave the career.

“The problem of the system is not so much this, which can be, buxt that you leave and manage to return, but you are not clear if you will be able to continue in Spain or if you have to leave again. Resources are scarce and in Spain, we train a lot of researchers. It is very difficult to get long contracts and to have stability,” the researcher emphasizes.

Many young Spaniards like Roces are forced every year to leave their places of origin to go abroad or to other large cities in the country, such as Madrid or Barcelona, where they are more likely to find work, and not only in research. The most immediate consequence is that the towns in these regions, located in the center of the country and on the periphery, are emptying and aging since the few remaining inhabitants are generally of advanced age.

Asturias is one of the most aged regions in Spain and also has a youth unemployment rate of 37.5%, which is why young Asturians decide to try their luck in other regions or countries. In recent years, the number of Asturians leaving “la tierrina” has not stopped growing: according to INE data from 2019, 37.1% of graduates from the region in 2014 work in another autonomous community or country.

Youth unemployment data in other areas of the emptied Spain are also bulky: in Castilla-La Mancha the rate is 36.79%; in Aragon, 34.37%; in Galicia, 33.66%; and in Castilla y León, 31.97%. There is no miracle solution that will erase these figures, but there are original ideas on the table that could at least reduce them.

One example is the decision of the Principality of Asturias to bring its technology centers to rural areas, with a clear intention: to retain talent and maintain territorial cohesion. But this is not the only measure that the community has implemented, nor is it the only administration that has programs related to innovation and research to curb the flight of its inhabitants to large cities.

Business Insider España has talked to the administrations of the Principality of Asturias, Aragón, Galicia, Castilla y León, and Castilla-La Mancha to find out what measures and programs they are putting in place in this regard, as well as to 2 startups that are not located in big cities, to find out what are the disadvantages of not having their headquarters in these.

“Physical presence is hardly needed”.

“In Spain, we do good science for the resources we allocate,” Roces insists. “The problem is that we allocate very, very little. The percentage of GDP that we invest is much lower than the European average and the surrounding countries”.

The innovation budgets of the autonomous communities and the central government have increased this year thanks to the European funds that will be arriving in the coming months and amount to 150,000 million euros.

However, many of the technology centers that will benefit from this money are located in large cities.

The map drawn up by the Spanish R&D Observatory shows a large number of institutions related to research and innovation in Madrid, where 373 can be found, a figure that contrasts with that of other autonomous communities, which can barely be counted on the fingers of one hand.

This graph shows how Spain has become the leader in youth unemployment in Europe.

“Ultimately, in Spain, much of the research ends up being done in Madrid or Barcelona. People end up there because that is where there are more opportunities, but those people would also have no problem going to live in a smaller area with a higher quality of life if there was a temporary continuity”, defends Roces.

Startup location trends are similar: most are based in large cities. Herminio Fernández is CEO of Eurocoinpay, a startup based in León that makes it possible to pay everyday expenses with cryptocurrencies. Fernández explains that startups located in “more depressed” parts of Spain have disadvantages compared to others located in large cities in terms of credibility, reaching official bodies, etc. However, talent detection is not one of them.

“Physical presence is almost not needed,” he explains. “The Internet has broken down physical boundaries.” The CEO and founder of Gijón-based startup i4life, Marián García, agrees and stresses that now all meetings are virtual, so there are no longer as many problems as before. “Before, there were differences in communication. Everything was based on face-to-face meetings, face-to-face business… Then being far away from the nuclei and with less communication was a huge handicap.”

The CEO of Eurocoinpay says that before the pandemic, the company was already working remotely, with colleagues connected from other places, even though Eurocoinpay’s headquarters are in León. In addition, she stresses the need for regional and central governments to support R&D companies, because that is “where the future lies for young people”.

“I always say that young people are not going to be able to look for work, they are going to have to invent it,” she defends. “Spain now has a great opportunity with the funds they are going to receive from the European Union (EU).”

For his part, García stresses that working in smaller environments also benefits companies. “There are very few of us, so standing out as an innovator in Madrid among many companies (…) is more difficult,” she says and highlights the support from the Principality of Asturias and the Gijón City Council. “You have the opportunity to have them explain the financing instruments first hand”.

Empowering rural areas as innovation centers

With the youth employment data from these administrations, retaining talent becomes one of their priorities. “This is not about constructing buildings, it’s about articulating socioeconomic transformation plans. It’s very different,” the Asturian Minister of Science, Innovation, and University, Borja Sánchez tells Business Insider España, adding that European funds have to put the value in the rural world. “We have no other choice.”

Sánchez says that the strategy of the Principality has 2 layers: social innovation and connectivity, with the development of 5G technology.

In this first one, he highlights the commitment to rural centers, which is also a question of territorial cohesion. “If you want to deploy innovation throughout the territory, you have to think not only in your central area or in the cities, but also in your councils,” he explains. To this end, the Consejería has decided to transform and adapt our network of Centros de Dinamización Tecnológica Local (CDTL) – known to Asturians as telecenters – as this is where the Principality has staff.

Sánchez points out in the interview that it is important to remember that this is the first time that the autonomous community has a specific Department of Science. “What is most urgent in Asturias is to organize a regional science and technology ecosystem that brings together public and private agents,” Sánchez explains. “That is before injecting a huge amount of resources. It wouldn’t be very intelligent to do so if we don’t have the ecosystem created.

Youth unemployment soars again in Spain: why the jobs of the youngest are the first to disappear in times of crisis, according to experts

The principality’s strategy involves merging all its technology centers, as well as increasing spending centers and encouraging large companies to create their own in the region. “We have to encourage more innovative SMEs and, above all, we have to remake, transform or redirect the role of the technology centers,” explains the minister.

Roces stresses that these measures will not be enough to rehabilitate depopulated areas, but they can be part of the driving force. “Research is not going to be part of the solution by itself in the long term (…). It can be a gamble. The solution involves incorporating many more things and this could be a small part of it. People who do research would have no problem with going to a more unpopulated area if there are good conditions.”

As for repopulation programs in other communities, Aragon -the Zaragoza Provincial Council, specifically- launched in 2018 the Challenge program for young students, better known as rural Erasmus, with the aim of completing their training in municipalities of less than 3,000 inhabitants located in counties particularly hit by depopulation.

Now, the Aragonese government wants to extend it to the rest of the provinces of the autonomous community. These students receive a grant of 300 euros and accommodation and subsistence allowances are also paid. According to the regional government, 79 young university students have obtained jobs thanks to these programs. The number is expected to increase when the program is extended to Huesca and Teruel.

Castilla-La Mancha already agreed in 2016 to define 5 geographical areas with specific development needs and receive what is called Integrated Territorial Investment (ITI). Between 2017 and 2018, the La Mancha government published 2 calls for proposals endowed with 20 million euros in total, of which 7.6 million went to finance 87 projects in ITI areas, 40% of the total submitted.

Among them, there is a wide variety of initiatives. For example, one is focused on technological advances applied to support and improve teaching activity in Rural Aggregate Schools (CRA), and another on non-woody biomasses for thermal energy production.

With the slowing down of depopulation also as an objective, the Xunta de Galicia wants to promote the creation of hubs in rural areas, conceived as spaces equipped with 5G connection coworking with 5G connection and the necessary equipment to turn them into spaces for technological entrepreneurship.

Smart villages are another part of the Galician strategy. These are “communities in rural areas that use innovative solutions to improve their resilience based on local strengths and opportunities”, with a participatory approach to develop and implement their strategies to improve their economic, social, or environmental conditions.

In the case of Castilla y León, there is financial aid for entrepreneurship in rural areas, with amounts of 10,000 euros, which increases if the project is innovative or is led by women and young people. In addition, 2 sectors stand out: cybersecurity, for which an investment line will be announced in the coming weeks, and retail, with aid to local entities and merchants’ associations for online promotion and sales.

Skills qualification and job retraining

A report by the consulting firm EY published at the end of 2020 points out that retraining employees will be one of the priorities in terms of people management in the near future, as the need for new skills has accelerated, especially in relation to new technologies.

This need for technology positions means that many people’s skills are becoming obsolete, and many employees need to be retrained to adapt. The lack of technical skills is more noticeable in rural areas: the Asturias counselor specifies that part of the digital transformation of the community lies precisely in the qualification and training of the unemployed. For this reason, most of the autonomous regions contacted have ICT programs for their inhabitants.

Aragon organizes ICT workshops to fight the digital divide aimed at older people or those unfamiliar with the use of these technologies. The courses are given in public centers in towns with less than 2,000 inhabitants. In this way, they also seek to consolidate these spaces.

For its part, the Galician Agency for Technological Modernization (Amtega) launched the Network of Centers for Technological Modernization and Inclusion (CeMIT Network) with the aim of achieving technological convergence with Europe. This network consists of 98 classrooms spread throughout Galicia.

The ICT skills learned can be accredited with a CODIX, that is, a certification of digital skills in office automation, which is obtained by passing a test organized by the Agency for Technological Modernization of Galicia (Amtega).

What will happen with 5G in 2021: operators prepare for more investments and spectrum auctions, although you will most likely be little affected for now

Castilla y León also organizes training courses in new digital skills and Castilla-La Mancha offers its citizens courses in basic and advanced office automation, internet, and new technologies, as well as workshops to teach network management, internet shopping, and digital culture, among others.

A good internet connection, the key to attracting teleworkers

The confinement, which forced employees and students to do their work from home, highlighted the great digital divide that exists in Spain, where there are still villages that do not have access to the network. For this reason, another of the most frequently repeated measures is the implementation of programs that seek to bring the Internet to every corner of the territory.

The Department of Science, University and Knowledge Society of Aragon has just launched the 100×100 plan, with the aim of bringing 100 megabytes to 100% of the territory, with an investment of 20 million euros (complementary to that of the central government) to deploy broadband and guarantee internet connection as a right.

For the implementation of 5G technology, Aragon wants to implement 3 pilot projects to test its effectiveness in strategic sectors. They will work on autonomous vehicles, self-sufficient farms and virtual reality applied to tourism.

The Principality of Asturias is also initiating the procedures to deploy 5G technology, after meeting last year’s goal of making the Internet available throughout the region. Sánchez stresses in the interview that improving connectivity is key to attracting telework, especially for people who appreciate the environment.

In May 2020, the Institute for Business Competitiveness (ICE) of Castilla y León reached an agreement with the European Space Agency (ESA) to develop a project that would allow the extension of the signal and connectivity in rural areas through 5G networks.

Castilla-La Mancha, meanwhile, has connected all its educational centers to ultrafast broadband thanks to the Escuelas Conectadas program, which has benefited 1,105 schools, Special Education Centers (CEE) and Grouped Rural Centers (CRA).

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Starting today, Germany will again vaccinate with AstraZeneca – a with risk warning

  • Germany will resume vaccinations with AstraZeneca’s Corona vaccine from this Friday. This was announced by Health Minister Jens Spahn.
  • Vaccinations had been suspended for a few days to check for an accumulation of rare cerebral venous thrombosis after vaccinations. The European Medicines Agency (EMA) had given the green light to AstraZeneca on Thursday after a review.
  • In Germany, people are explicitly warned of the risks before being vaccinated with the drug.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

This is an automated machine translation of an article published by Business Insider in a different language. Machine translations can generate errors or inaccuracies; we will continue the work to improve these translations. You can find the original version here.

Germany is resuming vaccinations with the active ingredient from British manufacturer AstraZeneca this Friday. They had been suspended for a few days after a spike in rare complications and deaths following vaccinations to check for a possible link. On Thursday, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) initially gave the green light to AstraZeneca’s Corona vaccine. “The vaccine is effective and safe,” the EMA announced. In the evening, Health Minister Jens Spahn then announced the resumption of vaccinations with a corresponding warning.

In recent days, the EMA had evaluated new data on cases of rare cerebral venous thrombosis possibly linked to AstraZeneca vaccines(read the background here). A link between the diseases and the vaccine has not been found so far, they said, and further investigations will follow: But: the benefits of the vaccine clearly outweigh all known risks.

Several EU countries had previously suspended vaccination with the active ingredient from the British manufacturer. On Monday, the Federal Republic of Germany also decided to do so after the Paul Ehrlich Institute, which is responsible for vaccines, issued a corresponding recommendation.

On Tuesday, the EMA stated that it considered the benefits of vaccination with AstraZeneca to be far greater than the risks associated with the cases of thrombosis that had now occurred. On Wednesday, the World Health Organization had also recommended continuing to vaccinate with AstraZeneca.

We explain what this means for the vaccination campaign in Germany.

To whom does the EMA recommend vaccination with AstraZeneca?

Everyone, without exception. The drug agency on Thursday formulated no exceptions for specific groups of people

Are there any restrictions?

No. However, the EMA recommended that doctors in EU member states provide the following information to patients: 1. AstraZeneca’s Corona vaccine does not cause a higher risk of thrombosis, according to the EMA’s findings.

2. There have been rare cases of certain types of thrombosis associated with vaccination with the AstraZeneca vaccine. Almost all of these occurred in women younger than 55.

3. Because coronavirus is a serious and common disease, the benefits of the AstraZeneca vaccine outweigh any known risks of adverse events.

4. Anyone who experiences breathlessness, chest or abdominal pain, swelling or coldness of the arms and legs, severe and worsening headaches, and blurred vision, persistent bleeding, increased abrasions, reddish or purple spots, or blood blisters under the skin after vaccination with AstraZeneca should seek medical attention.

When will Germany start vaccinating again?

Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU) said that vaccinations with AstraZeneca will resume in Germany starting Friday. The education about the possible side effects of the vaccine in relation to thrombosis diseases could also be done temporarily by hand.

At the conference of health ministers on Thursday, it was initially discussed not to vaccinate again until Saturday. In a preliminary draft resolution, two approaches had been proposed for discussion:

1. “Vaccinations with AstraZeneca will continue, all vaccinees will be explicitly informed about possible risks.”

2. initially – until the Standing Commission on Vaccination (Stiko) has revised its recommendations on AstraZeneca – “only people older than 55 will be vaccinated with AstraZeneca’s vaccine.”

Now it is clear: The health ministers of the states and Spahn ultimately agreed on the first variant and the vaccination restart as early as Friday.

What will happen to vaccination appointments that were canceled because of the vaccination freeze?

After Spahn’s announcement of the vaccination freeze for AstraZeneca, the federal states had to cancel tens of thousands of vaccination appointments per day for their citizens. How the rescheduling of canceled appointments will proceed is now also up to each state.

In Berlin and Bremen, canceled AstraZeneca appointments were partially replaced by appointments for vaccinations with vaccines from manufacturers BioNTech and Moderna. Most of the federal states canceled appointments for AstraZeneca without replacement. Those affected will thus probably have to book new appointments.

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