Contributions from the younger generations are essential to shape the mobility of the future. The e-Mobility by FCA division is therefore strengthening its bonds with the world of academe even further, with the conception of the “Think Factory 2020” project.
The aim of the plan – developed in conjunction with the most prestigious Italian universities and the most active student associations – is to create a veritable university ‘think tank’ on alternative mobility, a laboratory of ideas based on the skills and creativity of the best Italian students.
The “Think Factory 2020” project consists of three distinct clusters. The first is college ‘challenges’, which takes in recent work with the Polytechnic University of Milan, the private Bocconi University business school, also in Milan, and the University of Bologna, for example. The second includes webinars and extraordinary lectures, such as collaborations with the University of Palermo as part of their “No Smog Mobility” program, and with the Polytechnic University of Milan. Last but not least, the third group is ‘hackathons’, including initiatives such as Visionary Days and PoliENERGY.
College ‘challenges’ enable students to put their skills into practice (as well as earning them academic credits), by addressing the latest topics in alternative mobility. For example, students at the Polytechnic University of Milan challenged themselves by seeking out a solution to optimize electric car battery charging systems. Conversely, scholars at Bocconi worked on a project entitled “Optimal partnerships for FCA in the field of e-Mobility”, during which innovative solutions were presented to win over new customers, attracted by cheaper financial services or rental products with fewer constraints.
The most recent ‘challenge’ was presented last week to students at the University of Bologna, whereby the young participants will discuss the topic of “Next-Gen BEVs” to generate ideas to simplify electric car traction systems and integrate them with future smart networks.
For the second cluster, e-Mobility by FCA and universities are organizing training events focused on alternative mobility, in the form of webinars and extraordinary lectures. These encounters – made possible by FCA’s experts – will look into specific topics and inform the young audience of the daily commitment of the professionals working on the ‘electric challenge’. Explanations will be given of how FCA has adapted to address these new challenges and attention will be focused on topics of interest to the students, including a description of the Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) project, and the demanding work on battery packs and how they will be recycled at the end of their lifespan.
Finally, ‘hackathons’ give e-Mobility by FCA the opportunity to stimulate students’ problem-solving skills, by having them present an innovative alternative mobility project over a single, long working day. A full immersion, the first edition of which took place at the 2019 ‘Visionary Days’, where the young people had the chance to present their ideas to a jury led by Roberto Di Stefano, Head of e-Mobility.
The format was successful: the students challenged each other, dealing with real-world issues and topics. The same program was recently repeated at the PoliENERGY event, developed in conjunction with the Polytechnic University of Turin. During the ‘hack day’, the scholars will work on “Vehicle-to-X”, in an attempt to produce the best ideas to pair electric vehicles with any technology or device that can boost their commercial appeal and everyday usage.
Challenge, webinars and hackathons: these are the three new forms of teaching on which the e-Mobility by FCA “Think Factory 2020” is based. The project is a wager on Italian (technical) university students, in the belief that the future of mobility also and mainly sprouts from young people’s ideas.