New Event Format Pools E-Mobility

e4 TESTIVAL At Hockenheimring Looks At Successful Debut

By Susanne Brüsch

The Grand Prix race track in Hockenheim, Germany, turned into a spacious showcase and test ride area for electric mobility, when the e4 TESTIVAL opened its gates on October 27, 2018. A parade of over 120 electric vehicles with two, three and four wheels kicked off the very first edition of this new event format. It was directed to consumers and supported by the industry, the motor sports business, educational institutions and a visionary politician.

Regardless to the chilly autumn temperatures, the e4 TESTIVAL attracted nearly 8,000 visitors who came to Hockenheim to test ride all kinds of electric vehicles, including cars, bikes, scooters, motorbikes and various micro-mobility devices. Apparently, what drew most visitors’ attention, was the opportunity to actively test drive or ride these vehicles right on the F1 Grand Prix Course that was clearly large enough to really get a feel for the acceleration and speed. Learning about new technologies was another reason for many to come. 45 exhibitors showed their products, concepts and innovations ranging from e-skateboards to e-transporters and from components to services.

Largest e-mobility public driving experience

With more than 4,000 test rides done with electric cars only, the e4 TESTIVAL is said to be the largest e-mobility public driving experience in the world to date. And this year’s edition was only the start of what the organizers plan to set up at Hockenheimring in the future. It all began with three visionary minds who had the same idea and joined forces: Thomas Reister of the emodrom GmbH, Alexander Nieland of the e4 QUALIFICATION GmbH and Sascha Nachtnebel of the Greenfinder Group wanted to turn the intangible world of e-mobility into a reality for people. They agreed, it is all about the individual, hands-on experience. This is how people get to know, understand and love sustainable vehicles. When the event closed on October 28, Alexander Nieland said: “We have reached this goal today.“ And he added, that this year’s debut “lays the foundation for many more events to come.”

In fact, emodrom-group CEO Thomas Reister sees Hockenheim’s Formula One race track as “the best platform in Germany to create an innovative center for future mobility and involve the industry and trade as well as high schools and associations.”

Sascha Nachtnebel, who founded and runs the leading e-bike comparison platform, greenfinder.de, and has successfully digitalized the test ride registration and lead generation process at large trade fairs, admitted, that for him, a long-standing dream has come true––“to get people excited about e-mobility.”

Forum - Information, Inspiration, Vision

The open-air exhibition and test ride event was accompanied by an information forum that was held during both days. High-ranking speakers offered technical expertise, practical advice and inspiring adventures in a well-balanced mix of moderated talks, lectures and multimedia shows. Addressed at consumers, the forum invited and educated its audience to let go of the myths and preconceptions that are often related to e-mobility.

In his opening remarks, Germany’s minister of transport, Winfried Hermann (Baden Württemberg), presented a clear vision when he said that it is the responsibility of politics to offer solutions instead of banning new means of transportation that may not fit into today’s set of regulations.

Don’t just change to electric mobility

At the same time, he admitted, that if everyone just goes electric, we don’t solve our traffic problems. The transfer from gasoline to electric mobility needs to be viewed within a wider picture, involving new concepts and a new understanding of how we move from A to B. Minister Hermann mentioned digitalization as a friend in this context, as it makes new mobility devices and technologies much easier for people to access and actively use.

“It was our goal to show that electric vehicles are fun and the technology is ready for daily use,“ said Ursula Kloé of the JU-KNOW agency who organized the forum and is specialized in communications between users, industry and politics.

B2B for next year

All in all, exhibitors and visitors (including myself) praised the e4 TESTIVAL for its positive and open-minded spirit and the variety of impressions and contacts. Based on the philosophy, that e-mobility will be the vehicle to re-define the purpose of the Hockenheimring race track, the organizers plan to include a B2B session into next year’s event. The second edition of the e4 TESTIVAL is planned for mid-October 2019 but may move to an earlier date for warmer weather.