Issue: Jan 2018


The fifth annual Fuel Choices and Smart Mobility Summit



by Clinton Wright

The fifth annual Fuel Choices and Smart Mobility Summit held late 2017 in Tel Aviv, Israel. The event, was hosted by Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, the events aim was to create a dialogue about the world’s most forward-thinking approaches to transportation technologies and future business models, and to promote Israel’s ambitious goal of reducing 60 per cent of the country’s oil consumption by 2025. The Summit saw a gathering of the world’s most distinguished decision makers and business leaders in the field of alternative fuels for a series of on-stage interviews, panel discussions, case studies, and brainstorming sessions.

There was a cutting-edge exhibition of new and upcoming start-ups, as well as car manufacturers and alternative fuels companies at the forefront of implementing innovation in transportation. Speakers included the Israeli Prime Minister. The list of speakers were as follows:

Ofir Akunis Israel's Minister of Science, Technology and Space

Yuval Steinitz Israel's Minister of National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Resources

Eli Groner Director General of the Prime Minister’s Office

Dr. Anat Lea Bonshtien Chairman and Director, Fuel Choices and Smart Mobility Initiative Prime Minister's Office

Ratan N Tata Former Chairman, Tata Sons

Dr. Young Tae Kim Secretary-General of the International Transport Forum (ITF)

Ole Harms CEO, MOIA - Transportation on Demand Services

Dr. Youngcho Chi, Chief Innovation Officer Strategy & Technology, Hyundai Motors Group

Luca de Meo, CEO, SEAT

Eran Sandhaus, Vice President Services, Delphi Electronics & Safety

Mats Rosenquist, Director External Research Collaboration, Volvo Group Trucks Technology

Andreas Schamel

Director Global Powertrain Research & Advanced, Ford

Dr. Nili Mandelblit, Director of Aerospace, Transport, Nano materials and production, Research infrastructure, ISERD

Ola Altera, Strategic Advisor, Sustainable Innovation

Lu Haifeng, General Manager, SAIC Israel Innovation Center

Eyal Rosner, Founder, Beyond Mobility

Bart Biebuyck, Executive Director, FCH JU

Bracha Halaf, Acting Chief Scientist Ministry of National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Resources, Israel

Eric Gundersen, CEO, Mapbox

Gunnar Heipp, Director of Strategic Planning Projects Department, Münchner Verkehrsgesellschaft (MVG)

Danny Shapiro, Senior Director of Automotive, NVIDIA

Virgilio Cerutti, Vice President Group Business Development, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

Shahar Dave Waiser, Founder and CEO, Gett

Dr. Zhang Wensong, Senior Vice President and Chairman of Engineering and Technology Committee, Didi

Dr. Joachim Kolling, Head of Energy Services, BMW Group

Omer David Keilaf, CEO & Co-Founder, Innoviz

Albert Cheung,Head of Global Analysis, Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF)

Scott Corwin, Global Future of Mobility leader, Deloitte

Oren Shoval, CTO / Co-Founder, Via

Ben Volkow, Co-founder & CEO, Otonom

Elliot Katz, Chair, McGuireWoods

Doron Myersdorf, CEO & Founder, StoreDot

Michael J. Granoff, Founder and President, Maniv Mobility

Shaul Meridor, Director General, Ministry of National Infrastructures, Energy and Water Resources

Daisy Cai, Partner, Baidu Ventures

Oren Ezer, CEO, ElectRoad

Rani Wellingstein, CEO & Co-Founder, Oryx

Mark Joseph, CEO & Vice Chairman, Transdev North America

Dror Meiri, VP of Business Development, ADAKSY

Lauren Sager Weinstein, Chief Data Officer, Transport for London (TfL)

Yisrael Dancziger, Director General, Ministry of Environmental Protection

Jarmila Plachá, Head of ŠKODA AUTO DigiLab, ŠKODA AUTO

Robbie Diamond, Founder, President & CEO, Securing America's Future Energy

Prof. Jens Nielsen, Systems and Synthetic Biology, Chalmers University of Technology

Igal Raichelglauz, Co-Founder & CEO, Cortica

Alex Starns, Technical Program Manager, Lyft

Gloria Roberts Boyland, Corporate Vice President of Operations & Service Support, FedEx Corporation

Torben Fog, Business Manager, Head of e-Mobility Solutions, E.ON Denmark

Jim Adler, Managing Director & Board Member, Toyota Al Ventures

Prof. Jean-Marie Tarascon, Professor at the College de France holding the chair “Chemistry of solids – Energy"

Prof. Laszalo Palkivics, Hungarian State Secretary, Hungary Government

Dror Jerushalmi, CEO & Co-founder, Valens

Roy Williamson, VP Advanced Mobility, BP

Gilles Normand, SVP, Electric Vehicle Business, Renault Group

Dr. Yoram Turbowicz, Board Member, Champion Motors

There were a number of side events at the Summit – this included a roundtable on Smart and Autonomous Public Transportation: Collaboration between Leading Cities in Israel and in Europe - For city representatives. Then there was the International Cooperation in Transport under the EU Horizon 2020 Program – which discussed smart, green, integrated transport programs that are to be implemented by 2020.

Another side event on the second day of the Summit looked at how the Smart Mobility revolution is affecting the maritime domain as well; shipping and port operations are heading towards a hybrid, connected and autonomous era. The same technologies which led the Israeli ecosystem to excel in areas such as cyber, drones and autonomous vehicles, serve as building blocks for the future port, maritime and transportation applications. In the “Smart Mobility in the Future Port” session there will be discussions on the future challenges of the industry in its quest to become more efficient and sustainable, and be better connected and transparent. By bringing together top-tier industry professionals and a diverse audience of innovators/hi-tech professionals  the event promises to be a significant milestone towards our vision of leveraging Israel’s technology assets to deliver world class innovation to the maritime space.

Outside events included an exhibition in cooperation with EcoMotion focuses on interruptive technologies and innovations in the fields of fuel alternatives and smart mobility. “As incredibly dynamic and innovative field, we expect the mobility sector this year to bring even more advanced technology — from connected cars and autonomous vehicles, to alternatives fuels, intelligent transportation systems, smart city solutions and much more! During the event, a demo day of the Smart Transportation Accelerator will take place. Featuring the finalists from the previous batch, presenting their unique products developed during the accelerator program,” say the show organizers.

Another outside event linked to the Fuel Choices and Smart Mobility Summit, was a special City Motion Festival on 31 October 2017. The central Rothchild Blvd in Tel Aviv was closed for traffic and allowed the public a unique peek into a future urban transportation vision. The aim of the festival is to increase the public's awareness of alternative mobility solutions in the city that might lead to a significant change in our urban quality of life. As part of the festival, the public will enjoy a street exhibition of future urban vehicles; learn about new mobility applications and smart street technologies, say the Summit organizers.

The Fuel Choices and Smart Mobility Initiative, which is the host of the Summit, is Israel's national program for fuel alternatives and smart mobility, is a joint effort of ten government ministries: Energy, Transport, Economy, Environmental Protection, Science, Finance, Defence, Agriculture, Foreign Affairs, and finally, the Prime Minister's Office, which leads the Initiative. It is multidisciplinary in its nature and international in scope.

On July 2, 2010, the government of Israel passed a resolution stating that it “sees research, development, and implementation of technologies that reduce global oil use in transport as a national mission that requires harnessing national resources” and set this goal as a top priority, in light of strategic national interest, environmental considerations, and economic potential.

The Fuel Choices and Smart Mobility Initiative was established the following year, headed from within the Prime Minister’s Office. It was budgeted for ten years in order to create regulatory stability and an investment horizon for market stakeholders, and includes tools to strengthen scientific and applied research in the field and strengthen entrepreneurship and industry. Two additional government solutions laying out various means and goals were passed in 2011 and 2013.

On January 22, 2017, the government of Israel approved NIS 250 million, to be spread over five years as part of the national plan for smart mobility. The program has two main objectives: first, to strengthen Israel as a centre of knowledge in terms of smart mobility; and second, to promote innovative solutions for transportation in Israel. The national plan for smart mobility complements the national plan for alternative fuels. Some of the main steps of the program are establishing a testing centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles,  providing access to open source data and high-resolution mapping in Israel, creating a Smart Mobility Research centre to encourage collaboration of academia and industry, supporting pilot demonstration and deployment projects in projects in new technologies and operational concepts in the transportation sector with the potential of lessening congestion, reducing traffic accidents, decreasing the use of petroleum and encouraging the use of public transportation. And creating a supportive and innovative regulatory framework.

Together with nine partner government ministries, the Initiative aims to create a business-supportive environment for the market through simplification of bureaucratic processes and a means to quickly respond to market changes and needs. It supports Israel’s interdisciplinary nature and Israeli entrepreneurs’ operational agility, as well as cutting-edge academic research and exceptional cooperation between academic institutions and industry.

The scope of work performed by Initiative partners within the various government ministries and related agencies is massive, affecting about 500 companies, 220 research groups, and hundreds of entrepreneurs. But it goes further, in working to share technological and regulatory expertise across the world – this is, after all, a global issue that requires international collaboration. The goal being to reduce the share of oil in Israel’s transportation sector by 60 per cent by 2025 while supporting green growth and becoming a showcase to the world.

“To accelerate the process of finding fuel substitutes and solutions, the world must join forces. The Fuel Choices and Smart Mobility Initiative is building a global partnership network, a working coalition, among multiple governments, research centres, NGOs, and business partners.
The Initiative aims to facilitate cooperation between fuel alternatives players from around the world. In tandem, the Initiative aims to increase the flow of information surrounding technology, regulation, and public awareness, so that different players may benefit from each other’s knowledge and experience,” says an excerpt from the Fuel Choices and Smart Mobility Initiative website.

The Summit is the annual platform to bring together the best minds in enabling future transportation solutions that will not only be greener, but also safer and more convenient. At the Summit will be an invitation-only Gala dinner hosted by the Prime Minister in which he will award the 2016 Samson Prime Minister’s Prize for a major breakthrough in the field of alternative fuels for transportation.

The Eric and Sheila Samson Prize, totalling one million US dollars, is the world’s largest monetary prize awarded in the field of alternative fuels and is awarded yearly to scientists who have made critical advancements towards achieving this goal. The winners are selected from a long list of worthy candidates recommended for the prize by university presidents and CEOs in industry, from Israel and from around the world. The winners are selected by a committee of international experts who submit their recommendation to a board of trustees, headed by former Technion President, Professor Yitzhak Apeloig.

Professor Jean-Marie Tarascon Professor of Chemistry at the Collège de France and Professor Jens Nielsen from the department of Systems and Synthetic Biology, Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, who share the Prize equally. These two distinguished scientists have been awarded the prestigious Prize for their innovative scientific and technological contributions that have the potential to lead to the development of alternative fuels for transportation, replacing the fast depleting fossil fuels which are the major fuels used nowadays in transportation. This is the fifth time this prize has been awarded by the Prime Minister’s Office, the Ministry of Science, Technology and Space and Keren Hayesod.



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