How will we move and travel in the future? How will that change the appearance of our cities? What consequences will there be for businesses, production chains and supply chains? Innovations in the realm of transport have wide-reaching impacts. Not only for individuals either, as they affect society and the environment as a whole. From private transport to logistics, new forms of transport directly impact the everyday life of every person.

The following projects – which have the potential to change our forms of transport on roads, in the air or on rails – were recently honoured with the German Innovation Awards for 2020.


chargeBIG by MAHLE, winning gold in the “Automotive Technologies” category of the 2020 German Innovation Awards

Using commuter parking time: intelligent charging infrastructure for electric cars

chargeBIG, a corporate start-up by MAHLE, offers scalable charging infrastructure for cars parked throughout the day and for fleet operators. The concept for single-phase charging with a low power of up to 7.2 kW is made up of a central control unit and charging cables permanently attached to the parking space. In doing this, MAHLE is directing its offering to commuters who do not rely on rapid charging times.

The competition’s jury praises the concept for its pragmatism in particular, “Since commuters’ cars are left in their parking spaces throughout the day regardless, they can be charged using a slower – and therefore cheaper – form of power. MAHLE truly takes it one step further with its innovative product and integrates cars into an intelligent load management system. A strong system that uses available resources optimally, is relatively low-cost and consequently makes an important contribution to the take-up of electric vehicles.”


VoloPorts for air taxis by VOLOCOPTER and Skyports, winning gold in the “Transportation” category of the 2020 German Innovation Awards

Conquering airspace: airport concept for air taxis

If there is one thing urban air mobility promises, it is relief for congested cities. The world-first concept of so-called VoloPorts is planned to enable infrastructure for air taxis. Overseeing the concept is VOLOCOPTER, a pioneer of electric air taxis, and its collaboration partner Skyports. An open architecture with high transparency and steady view of the aircraft is intended to make passengers excited for their upcoming flight and convey safety. A flexible, modular concept has been developed, enabling variable configurations at different locations.

The jury says, “Electric air taxis are considered a highly promising solution to provide relief for urban traffic flows. The design of the VoloPort comes across as futuristic, modern, open and welcoming, and emphasises the progressive ambition of the idea. The VoloPort, a landing, take-off and waiting station in one, is a core component of the revolutionary air taxi system.”


L Column by Ligman Lighting, a winner in the “Connectivity” category of the 2020 German Innovation Awards

Combining lighting and charging functionality: a smart external light

L Column by Ligman Lighting is a slim, configurable and intelligent light column system which combines multiple lighting options – CCT, colour, Ra and TM-30 – with additional features. Thanks to its options for configuration, the outdoor light is considered the most adaptable smart-city solution in the market.

What is unique is the option to integrate various features: EV charging for electric cars, power and USB connections, intercom system and panic button, video surveillance, loudspeakers, banners, flags, signs, public Wi-Fi hotspots and even media displays. The Ligman L Column system can be connected with any standardised CMS system in the world as part of a smart city.


Intelligent rail freight: PJM WaggonTracker by PJ Monitoring GmbH, a winner in the “Logistics & Infrastructure” category of the 2020 German Innovation Awards

Automation for rail: new WaggonTracker system

PJ Monitoring GmbH is considered a pioneer and star innovator when it comes to digitally transforming rail freight. The development of the WaggonTracker platform is the first ever successful combination of extensive monitoring functions and automated processes in a complete, digital system. The WaggonTracker system can create financial advantages for users such as railway companies, for example through greater cost savings and higher freight security.

Social benefits can also be seen in the reduction of CO2 emissions by 500% and creation of attractive, new jobs in the context of digital transformation.


E-bike platform Greenstorm Marketplace by Greenstorm Mobility GmbH, a winner in the “Retail & Trade Solutions” category of the 2020 German Innovation Awards

E-bike progress: Europe-wide marketplace

The e-bike is on the rise and continually has exciting innovations to offer – now in retail, too. Using the Greenstorm Marketplace, local retailers can now for the first time offer their e-bike range across all of Europe free of charge or order a preferred e-bike for their customers without paying storage costs.

With new and used bikes, the Greenstorm Marketplace offers a wide selection of makes and models. Retail customers can order their e-bike online or from a bicycle retailer near them on the same terms and take advantage of their local retailer’s customer service. An innovative project that supports the proliferation of the e-bike.

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