Why Mercedes-Benz EQ Partners With Summit LA18

What has Mercedes-Benz EQ in common with Al Gore, Former Vice President of the United States, RZA, rapper and member of Wu Tang Clan and Eckhart Tolle, spiritual teacher? They are all at Summit LA 18 this weekend. Here’s how the partnership started and why it helps build community.

At the annual flagship conference in downtown Los Angeles 3,000 innovators and entrepreneurs will gather for three days of talks, discussions, wellness activities and entertainment. Facilitated by COOL HUNTING, the partnership includes a fellowship program, an art installation, a visit to a biodynamic ranch and a dinner with members of the Summit community focused on different aspects of mobility.

As journalists we at COOL HUNTING have covered Mercedes-Benz cars for nearly ten years, and naturally over time we’ve had the opportunity to develop relationships with many people throughout the US, global and regional organizations. We write about innovation and creativity across categories—from cars to travel to art to technology and more. Because of our exposure to things happening around the world in these varied but connected communities the team at EQ, who were in the process of developing its community strategy, asked us to collaborate with them.

One of the ideas that developed was participating in communities like that of Summit. Though based in the US, Summit attracts a global community of entrepreneurs and innovators. They produce events all year round in many locations, but the largest is the Summit LA, which brings together 3,000 community members. We felt that EQ was a natural partner for Summit, and last year encouraged several members of the EQ team to attend and experience the LA conference, which combines a range of wellness and fitness activities, all types of talks and performances, considered food options and a lot of evening entertainment.

Following that experience we worked with both the Summit and EQ teams to develop a partnership that felt natural and aligned with EQ’s thoughts about how to present and introduce itself to the world. EQ could have offered many types of support but understands that the power of supporting a community provides benefits that stretch across the traditional lines of marketing, public relations, art and content. Much like what we discover and write about at COOL HUNTING, the way we work with our partners considers our unique view and experience of the world. While sponsoring a party, festival or art fair all have their place, creating meaningful conversation and experiences is something we believe can have more impact.

Launching this year, the Summit Fellowships offer forty four people the opportunity to attend and join the Summit community. As a Summit Fellowship launch partner Mercedes-Benz EQ is sponsoring ten of the Fellows, all of whom are working on the future of mobility. The group includes an architect, engineers, a data scientist, entrepreneurs and a city employee with work focused in the UK, India, Africa and the US. More than one hundred people applied for the Fellowship from all over the world.

“The Mirrored Forest,” a site-specific installation of inflated, recycled nylon sculpture by LA-based artist GERONIMO, welcomes the Summit community as they enter the LA18 campus through the EQ Lounge. The artist asks “When our chosen fantasy becomes our personal reality and we begin editing our vision, where does Truth exist? The Mirrored Forest is an exaggerated and indulgent prop for me to explore Truth.

If space and time are a mirage and we indeed are living in the Matrix, are these blurred reflections the Truth? A presentation of yourself from the past, present, or future?”

Though the 2019 EQC isn’t present at the event, the artist, who attended the EQC’s launch in Stockholm in September 2018, used the car as her inspiration for the installation. Keeping with the desire to break new ground, the EQ team encouraged the artist to explore a new aspect of her work. She didn’t disappoint. The inflatable forest features nine metallic trees, ranging in size from 1.6m to more than 7m. It was important for the company to support the work of a local artist.

Creating meaningful conversation is equally important, and two events during the course of the weekend provide great opportunities to do so. On Friday morning the Fellows will leave downtown LA and head west to Malibu, where they’ll spend a few hours visiting One Gun Ranch, a biodynamic farm. Fellows will get hands on, helping harvest the food they’ll eat and prepare for lunch, hike the property and have a yoga and meditation session, and get hands on with the EQC. They’ll have the chance to meet and speak with several Daimler employees who work on the EQ team across product and communications teams.

The conversation continues with the Mercedes-Benz EQ dinner at Summit, an intimate evening with the Fellows and several other Summit community members and speakers over a plant-based omakase meal by local chef Jasmine Shimoda, which will include food harvested by the Fellows at One Gun Ranch. Notable attendees include Suzy Amos, a passionate advocate of a plant-based diet, designer Yves Béhar, author and former CEO of GE Beth Comstock along with many others who are working and evolving the future of mobility. Philipp Skogstad, CEO of Mercedes-Benz Research and Development North America, will host the evening.

I’m excited that EQ is supporting the Summit community and the work of these fellows and am looking forward to a few days of great conversation around the future of mobility.

The ten Summit Mercedes-Benz EQ Fellows for 2018

  • Rahul Gayam, CTO at Gayam Motor Works, Hyderabad – Rahul is a technologist with experience developing super capacitors and wireless charging and is working on the development of scalable next generation light electric vehicles.
  • Emily Beryl, Founder and CEO, Beryl, London – If you live in London, New York, Montreal or Glasgow and have ridden an urban bicycle you’ve seen Emily’s work illuminating your path. Bicycle lights, lasers, GPS, connectivity, data and more are all part of her effort to make cycling safer.
  • Tamara Warren, Founder, LeCar, New York – Tamara is applying her years of experience as an automotive and transportation journalist to a start up aimed at empowering women to make informed and confident decisions when buying a car.
  • Gene Berdichevsky, Co-Founder + CEO of Sila Nanotechnologies, Oakland – Gene founded his company to create new battery technologies to power the vehicles of the future. One of Tesla’s first employees, he was the principal engineer on the Roadster’s battery, one of the first mass-produced lithium-ion batteries in a car.
  • Jenny Wu, Founder and Principal, Oyler Wu Collaborative, Los Angeles – Jenny’s architectural practice focuses on urban design, infrastructure, products and installations. She also started LACE, a 3D printed luxury jewelry company.
  • Alisyn Malek, COO and Co-Founder of May Mobility, Detroit – Alisyn is an engineer with deep experience in charging and autonomous driving. She’s currently developing a community-focused approach to transportation using autonomous cars and related services.
  • Tara Pham, Founder and CEO of Numina, New York – Tara’s eclectic background in arts, urban design, publishing and technology informs her work developing city-scale data capture and analysis that helps cities become more responsive to residents needs.
  • Michael Lim, Co-Founder of Xtelligent, Los Angeles – Michael’s work in urban planning, investment banking and developing a city-wide strategy for the future of mobility in Los Angeles supports his current work at a start up focused on connected and autonomous vehicles.
  • Humphrey Wrey, Founder + CEO of QuickBus, London – Humphrey’s experience living and working in many African countries informs his current work. His goal is to simplify travel between countries in Africa and provide people with easy-to-use information on pricing and reviews for bus travel.
  • Jordan Davis, Director, Smart Columbus, Columbus – Jordan is helping the city of Columbus transition to a Smart City, bridging the private and public sectors to create a competitive, prosperous environment for innovation.

Evan Orensten is the co-founder of COOL HUNTING, a fifteen year old publication covering innovation and creativity, and serves as its Executive Editor. He is based in New York City.