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Propulsion technologies and energy supplies are undergoing a global paradigm shift, away from a focus on fossil fuels and towards renewable energies and the wider use of electric drive systems for all kinds of vehicles. Here, emobility is seen as playing a role in supporting the regional economy by creating additional jobs and value added, as well as enhancing environmental and life quality by its contribution to the region’s transport, energy, climate and environmental goals.
For companies in the automotive sector, the capital region offers a location for industry-wide cooperation, providing a neutral proving ground for innovative mobility and application strategies. These can, for instance, be tested for different target groups and demands in the various Berlin city districts with their distinctly individual characters. As an energy transit and export federal state, Brandenburg completes the symbiosis of emobile applications and renewable energy production. The close cooperation between Brandenburg and Berlin guarantees the requisite dovetailing of pioneering vehicle, energy and traffic systems in the dynamic environment of urban and open space. In this way, emobility represents an important link connecting the two clusters of “energy technologies” and “traffic, mobility and logistics”.
The Berlin-Brandenburg capital region has over 80 projects at present – more research and development (R&D), pilot and test projects than in any other metropolitan area in Germany. With around 2,000 electric cars and commercial vehicles, this area also leads the rankings for the numbers of these types of vehicles in Germany. In 2012, the region of Berlin-Brandenburg was also chosen to take part in the Electromobility Showcase initiative. On this basis, a sum of up to €83 million is to be made available by the end of 2016 to fund around 30 core projects.
The Berlin Agency for Electromobility eMO is the central contact partner and responsible for coordinating the projects. The eMO, which operates under the aegis of Berlin Partner for Business and Technology, pools expertise from business, science, politics and public administration.
Action Plan for Electromobility 2020
As a city with strong growth, Berlin requires networked, intelligent and holistic solutions to meet the challenges of the future. In global terms, Berlin may be ranked as a small metropolis, yet it offers optimal conditions for testing pilot strategies for solutions in clearly comprehensible and manageable structures, and scaling them for applications worldwide.
Today, the Smart City Berlin has already set a distinct focus on the innovative fields of mobility, energy technologies and health care as well as the cross-cutting fields of ICT and security. All of these, moreover, have interfaces evidently offering a high potential for innovation.
In the meantime, Berlin has honed its profile as a Smart City for advanced technologies, especially within Europe. Development so far has shown that, with their highly competitive innovations, companies are opening up new business areas for establishing and expanding urban infrastructures and making an informed choice for the Smart City Berlin location.
On this basis, the Smart City Strategy Berlin, drafted by an inter-ministerial working group, was ratified by the Berlin Senate on 21 April 2015. The strategy focuses on the development of user-oriented and marketable solutions in the context of triple helix consortia. Such triple helix models provide for close collaboration and links between the economy and industry – from global players to SMEs, state-owned enterprises, start-ups, science, research and the city administration. Berlin Partner for Business and Technology, the city’s business promotion partner, is the central point of contact, in particular for Smart City Berlin projects.
On 5 May 2015, together with Bologna and Paris, Berlin tendered to become a lighthouse city in the Smart Cities and Communities (1-2015) initiative, which is part of the Horizon 2020 research programme. The European Commission is expected to take a decision on the application by October 2015.
Smart City Berlin has a reputation as a point of contact for international experts working on the strategies and solutions for tomorrow’s city. At the Smart City Summit from 19 – 20 May 2014, around 100 experts generated possible solutions for the Smart City Berlin.
Furthermore, May 2015 saw the first Metropolitan Solutions trade fair held in its new location of Berlin. The Metropolitan Solutions fair also provides a showcase for a series of renowned conferences and events, such as the Asia-Pacific Weeks, which is similarly dedicated to the theme of the smart city.