At EcoMotion, no idea for smart transport is too dumb

Israelis form a community to toss around all kinds of ideas for modes of transportation using alternative energy.

EcoMotion drew 250 people with ideas for alternative transportation.

EcoMotion drew 250 people with ideas for alternative transportation.

More than 250 Israelis – from college students to experienced executives — came to EcoMotion, a recent Israeli “unconference,” to present their ideas for alternative smart transportation solutions.

“The atmosphere and energy was amazing. People stayed till 1 or 2 in the morning to talk more and create something together,” says Boaz Mamo, executive director of EcoMotion for the Israel Science Technology and Innovation Policy Institute (ISTIPI), which is co-sponsoring the initiative with the Prime Minister’s Office, the Ministry of Science, Keren Hayesod (United Israel Appeal) and the Israeli automotive industry.

EcoMotion was not a contest, but a kickoff event aimed at creating a collaborative community from a variety of disciplines to solve the problem of dependence on polluting fuels.

Among the inventions shown were a car propelled by wind, a bicycle powered by a fuel cell and a train that floats on water.

“We will continuously hold lots of small events during the year — workshops, meetings with investors and government officials, discussing collaborations to maintain the community and keep it strong,” Mamo tells ISRAEL21c. “We are big believers in the free market. Everyone with an idea can take a shot at it, but we’re not promising anything.”

In his invitation to the event, Prof. Eugene Kandel, head of the National Economic Council, wrote: “We believe that innovation is a key component for success in this complex process.” He emphasized that no solution would be considered too “crazy.”

Representatives of financial and government institutions and businesses including General Motors, IBM, Elbit, Rafael, IAI, Mobileye, Vulcan and Toyota were on hand to evaluate ideas in energy efficiency, electric and hybrid propulsion methods; energy systems; smart electric grids, electro-chemical energy storage sources and devices (such as fuel cells and batteries); independent propulsion systems; smart navigation systems and more.

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About Abigail Klein Leichman

Abigail Klein Leichman is a writer and associate editor at ISRAEL21c. Prior to moving to Israel in 2007, she was a specialty writer and copy editor at a daily newspaper in New Jersey and has freelanced for a variety of newspapers and periodicals since 1984.