Student-led project to electrify motorcycles wins our Competition Best Idea 2021

The Second Hand Mobility team, led by Carlo Schmid from TU Berlin, have won the €20,000 prize of our Competition Best Idea 2021, which invited student-led teams to develop ideas to use science and technology to contribute to ecological, social and economic sustainability.
14th October 2021
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The concept of the project is to convert conventional vehicles to electrical vehicles by replacement of a few key motor components.

Carlo and his team have developed a conversion kit for Germany's most produced motorcycle of all time: the small and iconic Simson. The user-friendly kit enables anyone to convert a Simson motorcycle to electric in less than one hour.

The team impressed the independent Evaluation Panel with their important and realistic project aiming to facilitate the urgent transition from fossil fuels to electric vehicles. They found that the approach could be a crucial contributor for rapidly transforming the motor vehicle fleet in the coming decade.

Now the team has founded the spin-off venture Second Ride to implement the concept within early adopters.

The Competition Best Idea 2021 was launched in September 2020 and attracted an excellent field of entries from our Members. The Evaluation Panel selected five finalists who pursued their ideas under the guidance of our Workgroup Best Idea 2021 throughout spring and summer 2021, aided by a series of workshops and mentoring sessions.

The winner was announced during the online high-level conference ‘Academia for the benefit of society – meeting critical challenges’, hosted by Lund University as part of the CESAER Annual Meetings 2021. The team pitched their idea during the conference and interacted with participants as part of a virtual exhibition.

Upon receiving the prize, Carlo said “This is a huge acknowledgement of the work of the 36 students from our team who worked on this idea over the last three semesters to make it a reality. It’s been a very exciting journey throughout the whole competition.

There are several start-ups in Europe working to electrify vehicles but they are all struggling with one common issue: the politicians are not aware enough. In many countries converted vehicles are not subsidised, whereas new electric vehicles are, which is crucial for the implementation at scale.”

Marc Zolver (Chair of Workgroup Best Idea 2021 and Vice-President International Affairs at CentraleSupélec - Université Paris-Saclay) said “All teams, and particularly the five finalists, impressed the workgroup with their ingenuity, motivation and determination. Each of them has matured enormously during the past year.

The competition demonstrates the huge potential of the next generation of our students to tackle society’s critical challenges. Whilst it was incredibly difficult to award only one winner, Carlo and team stood out as an example of how a student’s idea can be developed to form an international spin-off that contributes to sustainability".

The competition was an important part of our association’s thirtieth anniversary celebrations and is in line with our overall aim for 2020 and 2021 to shape knowledge societies in Europe and beyond for a sustainable future.

For more information about the competition please contact our Office Manager Indrė Antanavičiūtė.

For more information about Second Hand Mobility please contact Carlo Schmid.

Watch videos and read more about the other finalists

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