Last month the Canberra Innovation Network and leading local energy provider ActewAGL delivered the virtual Zero Emission Transport Hackathon (ZETHack).  As transport is the largest and fastest growing source of emissions globally (with 60% of emissions in Canberra alone coming from private and public transport), ActewAGL and the Canberra Innovation Network wanted to take this problem to the innovation community to come up with solutions to accelerate the adoption of clean energy vehicles.

The virtual hackathon opened with a keynote from Dr. Bjorn Sturmberg, the Research Lead of the Battery Storage and Grid Integration Program at the Australian National University. Dr. Sturmberg spoke about his team’s research on battery storage and how that affects the grid, including the need and adoption of electric vehicles in both Canberra and the nation.

Over the course of the week six teams from all over Australia were put through Lean Innovation workshops covering topics such as customer validation, ideation, pitching and creating a business model canvas. These workshops meant that the teams were pushed to engage with real potential stakeholders and customers as they moved through the ideation phase, which is an extremely difficult but rewarding task. After each workshop there were mentor sessions where world-class experts in the renewables, tech, clean transportation and experienced entrepreneurs were bookable by the teams for feedback and mentoring around their innovations.

The intense week for the teams all led up to one final moment: the pitch event. Each of the six teams had three-minutes to pitch their solution to the panel of judges followed by a five-minute Q&A session where they were competing for a first prize of $5,000 and a 12-week incubation program with the Canberra Innovation Network to further their solution and make it market-ready.

The Winners:

1st place: Team XKG with ‘All things EV’

This team pitched an XKG Electric Vehicle Experience Centre which is a physical space where consumers will be able to get brand-agnostic advice on a range of electric vehicles, talk to EV specialists and view a showcase of electric vehicles on the market.  In addition, is the online platform where consumers will be able to search for a range of different electric vehicles, find out where to purchase them, ask questions about them and schedule times to have a look at the cars in person.

Team XKG took home $5,000 in cash, and a 12-week incubation program.

2nd Place: brAIn power

By using Artificial Intelligence, brAIn power created an application where EV owners can search for charging stations around Canberra with real-time data. this enables users to see where chargers are available, the status of charging stations in use, and be given the ability to pre-book spots. The other side of the application collects data to help inform the decision making on predictability of the energy demand for each charger, and proposed locations for new charging stations.

brAIn power took home $3,000 in cash, and a 12-week incubation program.

3rd Place: Sustainability Hackers with ‘ChargeSource’

ChargeSource will help small businesses facilitate the installation of chargers at their business. Through this business model a small business like a café could have an EV charger installed to make them a more appealing destination to drivers knowing food and amenities are also co-located. Any chargers installed by ChargeSource will be branded and be added to a ChargeSource mobile application where there will be a network of chargers that can be mapped and booked online. The application will also have a description of the charger, the area it is in, and the business that it is owned by.

Sustainability hackers took home $2,000 in cash.

Hackathons are not only a great way for entrepreneurs and startups to test their ideas and build on their innovation, but they are also a great opportunity for staff, graduates and anyone else interested in upskilling in innovation and collaboration to come together and take on industry problems. 2021 is set to be a big year, if you are interested in hearing about future hackathons and events sign up to our newsletter and stay in the loop.