DHL, logistic partner of Formula E, gave aspiring designers the chance to showcase their innovative ideas in order to help shape the future of sustainable, electric transport. The winner of the DHL Blue Sky Transport Design Award was announced in London.

Six finalists presented their concepts during the DHL Berlin ePrix in May in an attempt to win £10,000, plus a prototype of the winning idea would be developed.

Initiated and chaired by Paul Priestman, designer and director of PriestmanGoode, an international jury looked at six concepts ranging from a cargo-passenger airship to self-driving vehicles. “It was a great experience and the standard of entries was absolutely brilliant,” found Priestman.


“I am a design engineer and I’ve spent a lifetime in Formula 1, destroying the world with combustion engines. I got involved in Formula E from the beginning and it is such a breath of fresh air and what we’re doing now is incredible,” said Rob Arnott, Team Manager of the Andretti Formula E Team. “It was an absolute privilege to be involved in this competition as a judge and I can’t believe the amount of high standard concepts have been presented to us.”

The winning concept was presented by Philippe Hohlfeld and Oliver Lehtonen who came up with the idea of the ‘DHL Water Strider’, a hydrofoil electric 6 x 3 metre boat that can easily transport parcels to remote areas that are accessible by water or from a cargo ship to shore, without the large ships have to dock.

According to the two graduating students of Transport Design at the Royal College of Art in London, the ship is lightweight, can transport up to five cubic metres of cargo and is equipped with 12 m2 solar panels equating 8 kWh of energy that would last for 24 hours of operation. It’s noiseless, reduces trucks on the roads, is scalable and can be introduced today.

The jury saw great possibilities to complement existing ways of delivering goods in places like Amsterdam, Venice or even the Caribbean.

“In Berlin, we were the last to present and looking at the other ideas we were quite worried,” said Lehtonen.

“Sixteen of world’s biggest ships create as much pollution as all the cars on Earth. We have to do something about this because this can’t be right, there needs to be a change,” added Hohlfeld. “The transportation of goods originally has been by boats between major cities. So we thought, why not to look at our past and bring this past into the future. Boat technology has advanced but delivering goods between cities hasn’t, so this his an example of new technologies with an old principle, delivering goods by waterways.”

He emphasised: “We are really happy that this competition has enabled us to create this boat in an attempt to realise our dream, which is a better and greener future.”

Download the full presentation in pdf (4 mb) of the DHL Water Strider
Tim is co-founder of and works in international motorsport. He found his passion for sustainable racing by joining world's first competition for hydrogen electric vehicles in 2008. He does not doubt on the possibility of a break through of electric racing. And that deserves a platform to keep up to date and to interact. Tim operates on behalf of Formula Blue Media.


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