What projects currently underway are going to change how people get around in the future? This afternoon the MUBIL Mobility Awards gave recognition to two revolutionary ideas. The first prize was the start-up Smobery from Guriezo (Spain), which won 12,500 euros, ahead of the Madrid-based Hoop Carpool, which won 4,000 euros. The former focused its project on smart stations and a global charging and battery exchange solution for light mobility, while Hoop Carpool aims to provide a carpooling platform for people who live, work or study near each other.
Both projects have also won an additional 18,500 euros in funding to carry out their projects together with organisations in the Basque Country, as well as a at the MUBIL or BIC Gipuzkoa offices space for one year, in a transport industry ecosystem that stands out as an international benchmark and includes companies as renowned as CAF, Irizar e-mobility, Petronor, GKN Automotive and Iberdrola. In addition, they will have the opportunity to appear for free at the third edition of the MUBIL Mobility Expo fair in April 2024.
In the morning, before the awards ceremony held at Tabakalera (Donostia/San Sebastian), the two winning initiatives had to present their projects to a panel of experts along with the other two finalists: Ridergy from Luxembourg, which proposed a B2B (business-to-business) SaaS (software as a service) for the efficient and reliable transition of fleets to electric vehicles, and Up&Charge from Bagneux (France), with a hands-free automatic charging system for all electric vehicles. The panel praised the finalists for the high quality of their submissions.
The award ceremony was attended by Eider Mendoza, Deputy General of Gipuzkoa; Eneko Goia, Mayor of San Sebastian; Arantxa Tapia, Minister of Economic Development, Sustainability and Environment of the Basque Government and Ane Insausti, Deputy for Economic Promotion and Strategic Projects of the Gipuzkoa Provincial Council and President of MUBIL, among other authorities.
Eider Mendoza congratulated the start-up winners of the MUBIL Awards for their “highly innovative” projects and welcomed them to the ecosystem being developed in the field of sustainable intelligent mobility in the region, aimed at the “creation of opportunities and development of new ideas, talent and entrepreneurial projects” in this sector. “The MUBIL centre for new mobility in Zubieta will become a reality next year, with its testing laboratories that serve as a benchmark in terms of energy storage, power trains and hydrogen fuel cells. In addition, an important hub for innovation is emerging around it, which will generate new opportunities and help our industrial SMEs adapt to the changes that sustainable and intelligent mobility will bring. Gipuzkoa is taking important steps and will continue into the future. based on cooperation between institutions, companies, technology centres and universities", he stated.
Ane Insausti highlighted the fact that "creating the MUBIL Hub aims to strengthen an ecosystem capable of creating and promoting initiatives that help the world get around in a smarter and more sustainable way, while also contributing to economic development and social welfare in Gipuzkoa. The initiative is based on cooperation at all levels, the development of cutting-edge technology, open innovation environments, a vision of the future and an international approach. In short, it strengthens the values that are the driving force behind our competitiveness in this area as well as others. It is essential to continue enriching and expanding this sector, and joining forces with new innovative business projects, such as those receiving the awards, is a step that brings us closer to the goal of making Gipuzkoa a benchmark in new mobility and responding to this hugely important global challenge from the regional level, here and now..”
The event was led by Antonella Broglia, a global icon in the field of social innovation, who explained that MUBIL is a network of more than 100 organisations in the Basque Country that includes public administrations, companies and research centres "all working together to become a global benchmark for smart and sustainable mobility".
Smobery presented to the panel of judges a comprehensive, sustainable and open solution for managing and recharging light vehicle batteries. José Ignacio La Torre, director of the start-up, explained that more than 600,000 motorcycles and mopeds, 1,300,000 bicycles and nearly 300,000 scooters are sold in Spain every year, but only 20% of these vehicles are electric. The obstacles standing in the way of increasing this percentage are short battery life and excessive charging time, coupled with the lack of battery standardisation. Their solution is an intelligent network of dispensers where users can exchange their used battery for a recharged one within one minute.
Paloma Martín Benito, co-founder and CEO of Hoop Carpool, began her presentation with a shocking fact: in a city such as Madrid, 5 million car journeys are made every day with an average occupancy rate of 1.2 people, which means that 7.5 million empty spaces are available for carpooling on a daily basis. Given this situation, she underlined that her SaaS platform makes it possible to "optimise car routes to work or university, giving people freedom of movement and offering ease of management to the organisations that use us".
The panel of judges
The panel of judges included Javier Izquierdo, technical director of AEDIVE; Carolina Rodríguez Arias, Head of Promotion at ENISA (Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism); Ignacio Martín, a director of Repsol, the Acerinox Sustainability Committee and Repsol Renovables; Imanol Rego, CEO of Irizar Group; Jokin Lopetegi, head of Corporate Development and New Business at CAF; Marisa Arriola, managing director at BIC Gipuzkoa and Xavier Sánchez, partner at ENION Venture Partners.
Companies such as CAF, Irizar e-mobility, Petronor, GKN Automotive and Iberdrola have collaborated in these awards, along with institutions such as the Gipuzkoa Provincial Council, ENISA (Ministry of Industry), the Basque Energy Agency, the Euskadi Mobility and Logistics Cluster, EIT InnoEnergy, EIT UrbanMobility, and professional associations such as AEDIVE and the Gipuzkoa Chamber of Commerce.
MUBIL unites the efforts of public and private organisations and individuals who promote initiatives for intelligent and sustainable mobility in the Basque Country. It was created as part of the Etorkizuna Eraikiz initiative by the Gipuzkoa Provincial Council and has the support of the Basque Government and EVE (Ente Basque Energy). Its main lines of action include cooperation between players, knowledge management, technological infrastructure and entrepreneurship. Furthermore, MUBIL's permanent headquarters in San Sebastian (Gipuzkoa) are scheduled to open in January 2024. It will contain 10,000 m2 of state-of-the-art facilities and testing laboratories, as well as a further 38,000 m2 in the surrounding area, where initiatives will be set up by other players such as CEIT, CIDETEC, TECNALIA, VICOMTECH and the City Science Lab Gipuzkoa project in partnership with MIT's Media Lab group.