In June, the who's who of electromobility met in Zell am See in the Salzburg region. IONICA is a globally unique event, showcasing e-mobility in all it facets: on the land, in the water, as well as in the air.
Alex Höller is responsible for event management and the accompanying congress within the IONICA team. "IONICA is the only event in the world where e-mobilists and everyone else involved in the e-mobility scene gather – within 3 kilometres of each other – to demonstrate the state-of-the-art to each other. We have seen and tried out everything, ranging from boats and jet-powered surfboards to electric scuba divers", continues Höller when he explains the concept of the event.
The interactive IONICA event offered participants a wide range of options to discover more about e-mobility. "Participants could look at and test cars, quads, motorcycles, mopeds, and electric skateboards. Of course, the flying innovations could not be tested, only gawked at", says Alex Höller.
The new event concept targeted both experts and end consumers. "There was a scientific congress on Thursday and Friday with about 30 international speakers. We held discussions on e-mobility over two days, here too focusing on the elements earth, water, and air. The congress was under the scientific direction of Prof. Dr Martin Faulstich from the TU Clausthal (Germany).
In addition, the IONICA opened to the general public from Friday afternoon to Sunday afternoon, with expos and shows. Everyone could try out e-mobility for themselves."
IONICA was also a special event for the Ferry Porsche Congress Centre. Project Manager Marlies Jäger, B.A. sums it up as follows: "At events like this one, the technology must function seamlessly. The 30 international speakers were all of outstanding quality, so there should be no problems with the presentations."
But not only the purely B2B elements of the IONICA Congress excited the project manager; all the surrounding hubbub and media interest was equally stimulating: "Of course, some exhibits that were set up in front of our Congress Centre, including Arnold Schwarzenegger's electric hummer (the only in the world) or the unique electric Harley-Davidson, were nothing short of spectacular. It was a special challenge when we spontaneously learned that ORF was doing a live broadcast. With live transmissions, you can't afford to make any errors. But we were prepared to master this challenge as well!"
Why is Zell am See/Kaprun the perfect destination for events on e-mobility? Alex Höller sums it up: "The idea for the event has been in our minds since 2010. There is almost no other region in the world where you can organise such an event within a three-kilometre radius. We have a sufficiently large lake to sail these boats. We have a small airfield situated directly at the outskirts of Zell am See, only 1.5 kilometres from the lake. "There are many expos on electric mobility, but this event is unique as it combines the elements of air, water, and earth."
This was joined by other conveniences, such as the proximity to Austria's highest mountain, which the organiser integrated into the production of IONICA. Alex Höller: "The Grossglockner is one of the most important brake test centres for all car manufacturers.
We organised a 24-hour endurance race: Who gets the furthest using the least energy? The final destination was at the Grossglockner, after 24 hours. Teams of four competed with four different car brands. Whoever had the most power left in the batteries at the end, won."
The organisers generally focused on creative ideas to draw attention to e-mobility: "Teams of at least three could pedal their bikes at the "IONICA Electronic Muscle". The bike’s wheel powered a roller to produce electricity that was directly fed into a battery. A driver then drove laps in an electric go-cart. The team that completed the most laps in a set period, won. That was extremely exciting and funny.
Then, there was the battery-powered boat race. The requirement was to build a boat powered by a Makita cordless drill. Everyone got the same drill; all the other components were built by the participants themselves. We had nine teams building really cool things. We want to do even more of these creative things in the future to raise excitement for e-mobility."
450 international participants at the IONICA Congress
30 international speakers at the congress
18,000 visitors in total
89 km/h: World speed record for electric boats, set by SAY29E at IONICA 2018
16.85 km/h: Maximum speed of the winning team in the IONICA battery-powered boat race, powered by a Makita cordless drill
2019 event: 18–23 June
The organiser has already worked closely with the Salzburg Convention Bureau in the run-up to the event. "The Salzburg Convention Bureau has offered excellent support during the preparations, mainly for the conference itself. Their help was greatly appreciated! A next event is already in the making, to be held from 18–23 June 2019. For this event, we will certainly work together more closely again", says Alex Höller.
We are already looking forward to it; it's very exciting to welcome such an innovative event – with great relevance for the future of our society – to our state!