Number of the Month: 7 beacons of electric mobility

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E -Taxi

Whether cars, buses or lorries – by 2020, Germany wants the majority of vehicles on its roads to be electrically-powered. Their advantage is that they are good value for money, convenient and environmentally-friendly. To make this vision a reality, the German federal government has been rewarding projects since 2012 which help improve vehicle technology or reduce the costs of electric mobility. These “beacons of electric mobility” are funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). In June 2015, seven ideas were singled out, concentrating in particular on

  • operating fleets of electric vehicles,
  • energy-efficient taxis and private cars,
  • user-friendly recharging and invoicing systems,
  • lightweight and recyclable materials for vehicle construction and
  • efficient electric engines.

What is special about these projects is that they involve companies working together with research institutions to turn ideas into products and business models as quickly as possible.

These seven ideas have now been designated “beacons of electric mobility”:

  • Project 1: How can Hamburg businesses and the city’s government make the most efficient use of their vehicles? The project partners are carrying out trials with a fleet of 740 vehicles and drawing up generally-applicable concepts on the basis of their findings. (in German only)
  • Project 2: A recharging station in your own home? Scientists have joined forces with an energy supply company to investigate how people could power their cars using electricity generated by solar panels on the roof of their homes and by their own in-house heating station. (in German only)
  • Project 3: Weighing in at just 550 kilograms, the E-Taxi is cutely spherical and intelligent. Companies are collaborating with the Fraunhofer Institute for Embedded Systems and Communication Technologies ESK in a bid to get the taxi onto the streets of Munich. (in German only)
  • Project 4: Where and how should charging stations for electric vehicles best be operated? Companies in the automotive industry have teamed up with energy suppliers and researchers at the universities of Stuttgart and Aachen to find the answers. Their goal is to establish a network of 600 quick-charging stations. (in German only)
  • Project 5: Because lightweight cars consume less energy, the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology is developing entirely new materials – and getting them ready for production. To this end, the researchers are cooperating with automotive manufacturers and suppliers. (in German only)
  • Project 6: Saving resources by recycling: the ReLei research project is developing a material cycle which allows plastic components of electric vehicles to be reused. (in German only)
  • Project 7: The EMiLE project aims to incorporate components which control the vehicle’s engine into the electric motor. This promises vehicles that are not only more compact and cheaper, but also more reliable. (in German only)

The German National Platform for Electric Mobility

This platform brings the key actors from industry, science, politics, unions and associations together in a strategic dialogue. It monitors and analyses developments in the electric mobility sector.