Why Israel is driving mobility innovation in Michigan


“When we look for new technologies outside of the United States, especially for mobility technology, there are really only two places that have the technology applicable to the use cases that we have here,” says Trevor. Pawl, director of mobility for the state of Michigan. .

“The first is Europe and the second is Israel. It is remarkable that Israel is the second largest market due to the small size of the country in terms of population and geography,” Pawl told ISRAEL21c after speaking at the EcoMotion conference on international mobility in Tel-Aviv.

Considering that the city of Detroit, Michigan is the epicenter of the American automotive scene – it is the birthplace of vehicle manufacturing as well as infrastructure such as traffic lights and lane markings – it is significant that the state looks to Israel to innovate in this sector.

While the Israelis don’t have an automotive manufacturing background, says Pawl, “they have a software engineering history.”

And that’s critical, he says, because “the automotive industry is driven by four fundamental platforms: autonomous technology, electric technology, shared technology and connected technology.”

These are all areas of Israeli expertise.

Charging on the road

Michigan State Mobility Manager Trevor Pawl. Photo courtesy of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation

A joint project is with Israel based Electreon to build America’s first wireless charging route for electric vehicles.

“We see Israeli companies coming to help us solve problems, but also to help us realize that the horizon for integrating future technology into the real world is not as far off as we think. And the perfect example of that is Electreon,” says Pawl.

“Once we saw other Electreon deployments in Sweden and Israel, we knew Electreon was a company we wanted to work with in Michigan,” he says.

Photo courtesy of Electreon

“While transportation infrastructure is being reinvented and we have money from the federal government to reinvent it, we are looking at what else we could do, other than create charging stations, to help people fleet operators to switch from diesel to electric. And one of those things is not having to wait half an hour at a charging station,” says Pawl.

“We believe Electreon’s technology will enable seamless loops for things like delivery vans and transit vehicles. We’re deploying the first mile of road that charges a moving vehicle, right here in Detroit, to be commissioned next year I’m pretty sure it won’t be the last mile.

Kinetic load

Michigan can also do business with ZOOZ Power (formerly Chakratec), an Israeli company whose Kinetic Power Booster (KPB) based on innovative flywheel technology helps provide ultra-fast charging networks for electric vehicles.

Photo courtesy of ZOOZ

“As we grow our electric vehicle charging network in Michigan, where much of the population is in the lower part of the state, we are encountering unique challenges with the network,” says Pawl.

“This company has a contraption that can create its own kinetic energy and then bridge the difference in that part of the network to ensure that one charging station, or two or three charging stations, are capable of operating in areas where they wouldn’t be otherwise.

Pawl said the state is also exploring Israeli maritime mobility solutions for recreation and industry, given that transportation on the Great Lakes is important to Michigan’s economy.

Business Accelerator Michigan Israel

Pawl points out that Michigan seeks Israeli innovation in a variety of verticals, such as security, consumer goods, and water and agriculture technologies, which generate local jobs.

The Business Accelerator Michigan Israel organizes trade missions twice a year to facilitate matches between Michigan’s needs and Israel’s capabilities.

“Obviously, I’m only involved in the area of ​​transportation mobility,” says Pawl, “and it was important that we brought in some of the senior consultants from the Michigan Department of Transportation on innovative projects – be it for bridges or for the future of automated payments — to EcoMotion to see what’s happening in real time with clear market direction.

The accelerator, he continues, “has boots on the ground in Israel, which allows us to be present at cool events such as EcoMotion and to ensure that we meet high-level officials, going to the command centers of certain highways, and meet people who are trying to solve the problem of micro-mobility congestion in cities.

Looking at the direction in which the automotive industry and smart cities are moving, Pawl says, “There’s more synergy than you might immediately think. You cannot afford not to have a constant dialogue with Israeli public and private sector leaders. »

Mobility and smart cities

Among the Israeli technologies that are attracting interest are digitized garbage collection based on data from GreenQ, road noise cancellation technology from Silentium and AlgoShield, a solution for early detection of lithium battery dangers in real time. and explosion prevention.

“We get a lot of questions from cities like, ‘Okay, if we’re going to aggressively deploy charging stations and electric vehicles on the road – General Motors is going all-electric by 2035 – how are we going to dealing with the worst cases, such as battery fires How to prepare for the future?

“In addition to ensuring firefighters have the right technology and knowledge to work with a battery fire, the vehicle is going to have to take a big leap forward,” Pawl says.

Photo courtesy of EcoMotion

“If you’re striving to make America not only the world leader in producing technology and vehicles, but also just being one of the best places to move around, I think ‘Israel can help us find the way.

A testing ground for Israeli technologies

Trevor Pawl speaking at EcoMotion 2022. Photo courtesy of Michigan Israel Business Accelerator

In his speech to EcoMotion, Pawl said Michigan, which borders Canada, is a valuable test site for Israeli companies entering the North American market.

“We understand that there are other markets like Silicon Valley and places on the East Coast that have venture capital markets, but to really prove your technology, you’re going to want to get it out into the communities,” a- he explained.

“You’re going to want world-class testing sites early on, and once you get past that stage, you’re going to want to work with a government that’s willing to give you access to their infrastructure and has regulatory policies where you can move at market speed and obtain permits quickly.

“So while you can kick tires in an automaker’s R&D lab in Silicon Valley, if you want to end up on a North American vehicle, you have to go through Detroit. And if you want to build a fleet , you’ll need to access our supply chain,” he says, noting that Detroit is home to the lion’s share of U.S. auto suppliers and manufacturers.

“It goes hand in hand with our commitment to, for example, the Electreon project, opening up our infrastructure to help Electreon write its playbook in North America.”

Michigan also has North America’s first smart parking lab and is building America’s first signature EV route along Lake Michigan. The U.S. and Canadian federal governments are researching technologies to build better border crossings, Pawl says.

Additionally, Michigan is building a 40-mile autonomous thoroughfare between Detroit and Ann Arbor, “which will essentially be the road of the future and provide hundreds more opportunities for Israeli companies to insert their technology.”


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