Hackathon BeeGreen: ideas for sustainability

Hackathon BeeGreen: ideas for sustainability

There’s always a need for fresh, inspired solutions to smooth the path to sustainability. Generating these solutions was the focus of BeeGreen, a hackathon organised by Škoda.

18. 3. 2024 Škoda World

At the end of February and beginning of March, seven teams from companies from the Czech Republic, Poland, Germany and France came together in Prague to compete. Their task was to come up with an innovative technological idea and solution in one of three areas related to sustainability. The competitors could choose from the following themes: exploring the environment during driving breaks; improving the recyclability of car materials; or measuring and reducing the carbon footprint of the supply chain.

Teams from Czechia, Poland, Germany and France took part in the event.

The two-day programming marathon offers IT companies a unique platform to showcase their expertise and come up with innovative ideas. Mentors from Škoda and other VW Group brands were on hand to give the individual teams the benefit of their experience. In addition to a cheque for 50,000 euros to help fund the first stages of project development, the winners also get the chance to continue working with the Czech carmaker. Needless to say, intensive networking and making valuable contacts is a great benefit as well.

Startups hotbed

Innovation and digitalisation are key tools on our journey towards a sustainable future. We understand that this transition is a joint effort, so we are looking for partners who share our vision and want us both to make progress. Škoda’s strategic advantage lies in our location: the Czech Republic is a hotbed of thriving software startups. Events like the BeeGreen hackathon provide a platform for establishing strategic partnerships between dynamic IT companies and the strong Volkswagen Group, partnerships that foster the development and implementation of innovative, sustainable solutions,” said Karsten Schnake, Škoda board member for procurement, at the opening of the event.

Karsten Schnake
Škoda board member for procurement

EKODA-BeeGreen-Hackathon_Teki-Shine_32-kopie_5184975aThe two-day programming marathon was held in Prague.

Among the ideas competing to win the prize was an extension of the MyŠkoda app. During a charging break, user can expand their knowledge with interactive courses and quizzes on subjects such as ecology or first aid, or relax with guided breathing exercises. Another team came up with improvements to the app’s journey planner – for example, it would offer a selection of eco-friendly and cheaper chargers, AI-recommended sites of interest in the vicinity of the charging station or the ability to communicate with other drivers at the charging station.

“It’s ideas like this that confirm that for a lot of people, the cars we sell aren’t really the end product. One concept that was often heard here was the ecosystem, which I think is very important. The way I see it, there are two levels to it. Firstly, it’s the connection between the car and apps, artificial intelligence that can make predictive suggestions for journeys, routes, entertainment content, or comes up with ideas linked to use of leisure time. The second level, which is perhaps even more important from the user’s perspective, is how the car, typically an electric car, is integrated into customers’ wider energy context and needs. I’m glad that these themes resonated here, because I think they will open up a lot of other business opportunities for us in the future as well,” says competition judge Jana Kébl, who is responsible for supplier management, risk management and technical support in Škoda’s procurement department.

Jana-Kebl-_c2ce429d Jana Kébl
Škoda procurement department

EKODA-BeeGreen-Hackathon_Teki-Shine_22_23890325Circular economy, sustainability, recycling, reducing carbon footprints - there were lots of issues to tackle.

The focus of another team’s idea was linking various electricity storage sites – car, home and other locations – and photovoltaic systems to form a larger integrated unit, where one of the future benefits would be appealing financial savings for users.

Supporting the circular economy

The winning project by the German ETAS team was to create an ecosystem or community of dealers, suppliers, OEMs and others to recycle and reuse car parts.

“We proposed a way to promote materials recycling by organising the sending of broken parts back for refurbishment. The repaired parts will then be reused as normal spare parts. The car company has control over the platform and manages the circulation of parts and who participates in the cycle. The partners in the ecosystem are motivated to carry out circular economy design and development work,” explains team captain Moritz Benstein.

Moritz-Benstein_601e0af8 Moritz Benstein
captain of the winning team

EKODA-BeeGreen-Hackathon_Teki-Shine_13_f2654972Good results came from good teamwork.

The benefits of the winning solution, called “The Cycle App”, are both environmental – the lifetime of parts is extended, the carbon footprint of cars repaired in this way is reduced, and the proportion of recycled materials in the newly manufactured parts is increased – and commercial, as this transparent approach to sustainability increases the brand’s market appeal and raises revenue through the resale of parts.

“The sustainability aspect of this project was front and centre, but at the same time it wasn’t divorced from the business model, which the winners took in a very innovative direction. If we had to pick one out of all the sustainability themes, it would be the circular economy. The possibility of opening up an autonomous secondary market in used parts, which will be refurbished directly by the manufacturer in some controlled and certified way, hit the bullseye, I’d say. And if it also opens up additional business opportunities... In short, there was no doubt about the winner,” concluded jury member Jan Melichar, head of connectivity and electrics procurement.

Jan-Melichar_72c54884 Jan Melichar
head of connectivity and electrics procurement    

Účastníci Hackathonu Škoda Auto BeeGreen Participants in the Škoda BeeGreen Hackathon