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TRANSPORT & MOBILITY103Below:Delegatesparticipate in virtualdriving tests to seehow eco-friendly theirdriving isWe need that entrepreneurial spirit when we reinventthe automobile."Held over two days, the summit was something entirelynew in the automotive industry. A conference andexhibition that showcased cutting-edge technologiesand concepts for the future mobility and transport.Uniquely, the summit formed also a creative forum -bringing together young talent from around Europe todebate and brainstorm the future of transport.The forty-two delegates were all winners of a Europe-wide competition that invited people between 18-30 to submit their ideas for the future of mobility.Over the past two days they had worked closely with designers and executives from Europe's topauto manufacturers in intense Idea Labs. Theyimagined and explored new transport systems, anddebated the skills, technologies, and social forcesneeded to make transport even safer, morecomfortable and sustainable. On the second day of theconference, their combinedvision was presented in aBook of Ideas that will begiven to Europe's politicaland industrial leaders.Delegate Florian fromStuttgart is in his earlytwenties and is already working in the industry. Hebreaks off from discussing the event to enthuse abouta fantastical hybrid sports coupe concept that isnearby, conceding that the electric bike concept alsonearby is probably a bit more affordable. Fellow Italian delegates Riccardo, from Rome, andSimone from Milan are examining a concept for a tinytwo-seat city car. They are pleased with the quality ofdebate in their Ideas Lab. Ricardo explains: "The otherdelegates here are all really proactive - no one is shyabout ideas."Neither work in the industry today but read about OurFuture Mobility Now online and decided to getinvolved. Like all the delegates, they are bothincredibly focused and articulate. Carolina from Spainis from an international affairs background rather thanan engineer. The idea that won her place at the event looked at howelectric car batteries could be used to power otherpersonal and home appliances, linking together thetechnology of the road and the home. She seems shybut explains: "There are lots of events that bringtogether CEOs and politicians, but this is exciting asyoung people also have a voice."Perhaps the clearest sign of how Our Future MobilityNow differs is that the Prime Minister of Belgium,Yves Leterme, listens to the presentations of thedelegates first before himself taking the stage.Speaking of the need for Europe to stay ahead in theface of global competition, energy and demographicchallenges he argues that engaging the continent'syoung people is vital:"This type of initiative is essential to encourage ouryouth to address these challenges," said Leterme. "Icall for this type of dialogue to be embedded in oureducation system. Our Future Mobility Now could bethe blueprint." Later that afternoon, the EU Commissioners forTransport, Employment and Industry take part in theopen dialogue and exchange. Commission PresidentBarroso and Climate Action Commissioner Hedegaardsend video-recorded messages to endorse the projectand encourage the discussion.But the big ideas are not just for the politicians. Duringa coffee break, delegate Simone impresses with hisown description of starting his own carpoolingbusiness. It is an ambitious plan that will provide anincentive for the use of environmentally-friendlyprivate cars. It turns out that it is his 21st birthday.Riccardo offers him his congratulations and theyembrace like old friends.It is a nice example of the personal bonds being builthere between the young delegates, and echoes DrZetsche's view on why youth matters: "When you are inyour twenties you do not have a master plan for yourfuture but you are open to change. The auto industrydoes not have a master plan for future mobility, butthere is plenty of change ahead of us and shying awayfrom that is not an option."The Our Future Mobility Now project continues online and will stir further dialogueand imagination among Europe's future generation andthe leaders of industry and politics today. nABOUT THE AUTHORIvan Hodac has been ACEA's Secretary-Generalsince 2001. Building on a large experience in EUaffairs, he maintains close relationships with theEuropean Commission, the European Parliamentand the EU representatives of the Member States.As a representative in Brussels of the 16 Europeanautomobile manufacturers, Mr Hodac is alsocounterpart for other industry associations, NGOsand consumer organisations in Brussels.THE AUTO INDUSTRY DOESNOT HAVE A MASTER PLAN FORFUTURE MOBILITY,BUT THERE ISPLENTY OFCHANGE AHEAD OF US AND SHYING AWAYFROM THAT IS NOT AN OPTION" "