How can we stay mobile and still preserve the earth’s natural resources? Baden-Württemberg, which is famous for the invention of the car, makes great efforts to continue producing viable mobile solutions.

THE LÄND: Home to Innovators of Sustainable Mobility

In the German Southwest, forward-looking research for a better tomorrow ranges from emission-free cars to smart mobility concepts.

The car is probably the invention Baden-Württemberg is most famous for, and to this day, the automotive industry plays an important role for the state and for Germany as a whole: Around a third of the German turnover in the automotive industry is generated in the German Southwest. For a long time, sustainability was not the industry’s focus. However, climate change has triggered the development of environment-friendly mobile solutions. A successful and speedy transformation towards a sustainable mobility does not only rank high on the agenda of policy makers, but is also subject of many research projects in Baden-Württemberg.

The Innovation Campus Future Mobility

An example of how excellent fundamental research made in THE LÄND produces new and pioneering technology, is the Innovation Campus Future Mobility (ICM) at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and the University of Stuttgart, where different institutions and specialist disciplines are brought together to study the fields of resourceful production, re-manufacturing and emission-free drives. In the field of drives, scientists work on new e-motors such as reluctance machines which neither require permanent magnets nore rare earths and are thus resource-saving. „It’s going to be a game changer in designing and producing machines“, says Prof. Dr.-Ing. Nejila Parspour, Head of the Institute of Electrical Energy Conversion at the University of Stuttgart.

ICM researchers at KIT are looking for sustainable energy conversion solutions. Currently, Dr.-Ing. Jan Haußmann and his research group at the Institute of Product Engineering (IPEK) are working on a possibility to analyze fuel cell systems. This is important because cars, trucks, airplanes and ships all require different fuel cell systems.

A student start-up making e-bikes more sustainable

A student start-up supported and partially funded by ICM wants to make e-bikes more sustainable by offering a repair- and recycling-friendly battery system to manufacturers and end users. MoThor Batteries is a typical project for Baden-Würtemberg’s science landscape today: It‘s international, interdisciplinary and innovative. The ten students from Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) come from different fields of studies and countries. Their future success is not unlikely: The sources of support for young technology start-ups are manifold in Baden-Württemberg: „We can use the rooms of Pioniergarage, the student founding group of KIT, we are supported by the energy accelerator AXEL through seminars, mentoring and networking and there’re also great possibilities with the state of Baden-Württemberg“, says Theo Sailer, Co-Founder of MoThor Batteries.

Moving sustainably in everyday life

The future is the smooth combination of different mobility options that are as emission-free as possible. That is what the Baden-Württemberg Institute for Sustainable Mobility (BWIM) stands for. Funded by the Ministry of Transport and the Ministry of Science, Research and Arts Baden-Württemberg, the institute pools the unique competencies of the state’s higher education institutions in the field of sustainable development.

„The real aim is that people like to move in a sustainable way. Sustainability is more than just saving CO2 emissions. The idea is shifting to sustainable modes and to bring them together at one point“, says Prof. Dr.-Ing. Christoph Hupfer, Board Spokesperson BWIM.

Such an example is the App regiomove that started as a research project of Karlsruhe University of Applied Sciences (HKA): Public transport can be mixed with a bike or car ride from a sharing provider.

Besides analyzing how to combine different mobility modes, BWIM’s approach is to develop ideas together with the people. After all, a lot of things have to be considered to make mobility as a whole sustainable such as safety, spaces or the fun factor.

One thing is for sure already though: In Baden-Württemberg, researchers from different disciplines are working together to find mobility solutions that future generations will enjoy using without causing environmental damage.

Tip for researchers: Do you also want to work on finding mobility solutions for a sustainable future? Use our job search!

Tip for students: Do you want to shape the future of mobility with your studies? Use our study search!

Author: Leonie Rörich