Issue: Jul 2011

Shai Agassi Wins First Bertha-Carl-Benz Award

by John Larkin

Shai Agassi received the first Bertha-Carl-Benz Award in the city of Mannheim. "Shai Agassi has inspired us with his contribution to mobility and addressing the climate challenge and it is because of his efforts that we have awarded him this special gift," said Mayor Dr. Peter Kurz.

Shai Agassi accepted the award, "I am humbled and honored to be here today to receive this award from the City of Mannheim and the Lord Mayor Dr. Peter Kurz," said Shai Agassi, Founder and CEO of Better Place. "Carl Benz invented an industry 125 years ago. An industry that delivered a lot more than just a machine, it delivered the self empowerment allowing people all around the world to travel freely distances that were not imagines with ease and experiences that define our life. Many doubted the potential of the gasoline car and it was Bertha Benz who kept her husband's dream alive with her pragmatism and positive thinking to create that revolution. On her first trip that started here in Mannheim, she had to search for pharmacies in every town she passed so as to extend her journey. Today, her journey is possible to travel in an electric car, with a GPS that will show a driver where she can switch a battery and come back. No need to look for a pharmacy, or wait for a battery to charge. It is my hope that we continue to keep Bertha and Carl's innovative and fearless spirit alive as we approach this new era of transportation, and come together as industry to bring electric cars to the masses."

In 1886 Carl Benz invented the automobile in Mannheim, and on the 125th Anniversary of the momentous invention the city of Mannheim named the first Bertha and Carl-Benz Award, an award presented to people who have rendered outstanding services within the field of improved mobility.

"The development of new concepts of mobility is one of the great challenges of the coming years," said the Lord Mayor. "Shai Agassi was selected for his outstanding commitment to a model for the development of new and future-oriented mobility concepts, as well as solving other global challenges of the future."

The jury came to the same conclusion: "Shai Agassi combines vision and innovation with technical expertise and entrepreneurial experience. In addition, he drives a strong social responsibility to help solve the current and future challenges of climate protection. This prompted him to quit his successful career in the IT sector and to engage in the new field of "e-mobility". With his company Better Place, Shai Agassi acts as a model for those striving to take on large challenges related to climate change and new mobility concepts.

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