Electric mobility: swapping range anxiety for driving pleasure

For drivers of conventional vehicles, finding the nearest service station is quite simple. They are usually found every couple of miles along a main road, or the driver can ask the navigation system. For drivers of electric vehicles, the situation was somewhat different – until recently. The density of the charging infrastructure is increasing: according to BDEW, in Germany alone the number of publicly accessible charge spots grew 17 percent between the end of 2012 and the end of 2013. It now stands at 4,454 – but information on exactly where all the various operators’ charge spots are located is not always available. As for trying to find a charge spot abroad, information is in even shorter supply. Electromobility here still has a flavor of adventure.

The Green eMotion project demonstrates possible technical solutions

One of the objectives of Green eMotion, a European research and demonstration project, is to flesh out technical concepts, such as how to use charge spots outside the driver’s home country. Launched in 2011, Green eMotion is now in its final phase.

The Green eMotion consortium consists of forty-three partners from industry, the energy sector, electric vehicle manufacturers, and municipalities as well as universities and research institutions. They have joined forces to explore the basic conditions that need to be fulfilled for Europe-wide electromobility. The primary goal of the project is to define Europe-wide standards. To this end, practical research is being conducted in different demo regions all over Europe with the aim of developing and demonstrating a commonly accepted and user-friendly framework that combines interoperable and scalable technical solutions with a sustainable business platform.

Drivers will be able to find and reserve charge spots across several demo regions, identify themselves at the various charge spots, and charge their vehicles.

An app guides you to your destination

In mid-September 2014, vehicles from all over Europe will set out on a rally to Brussels. The goal is to demonstrate the feasibility of the developed concepts.

To make the trip easier for the drivers, Bosch Software Innovations has developed an app specifically for the rally. Drivers can use the app to find project partners’ charge spots across Europe and sometimes even reserve them, in addition to viewing the route to get there. The Bosch app works for 1,430 charge spots in Spain, Hungary, France, Italy, Austria, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, and Ireland. These spots are operated by project partners Endesa, Enel, RWE, Iberdrola, ESB, Smatrics, and Malmo Stad. Bosch Software Innovations has also added charge spots located near the German-French border from the CROME project. Project participants will be able to plan a route and quickly find charge spots along the way, which will give them a greater sense of security on the road. The app will be available to participants at no charge for the duration of the project.

Project participants will be able to plan a route and quickly find charge spots along the way, which will give them a greater sense of security on the road. The app will be available to participants at no charge for the duration of the project.

The screenshot shows the Bosch Software Innovations app’s login prompt.

Connect for success

Besides ensuring the physical availability of charging infrastructure, a critical factor in making a success of electromobility is to connect the various operators and their software systems so they can operate the infrastructure properly. Without an overarching network, electromobility will never amount to more than a series of island solutions.

It is a daunting task. Interfaces have to be agreed upon, and right of use, user fees, and pricing models have to be clarified. What’s more, users have to be able to get authorization in different countries with no need for customer data to be shared.

Along with the Hubject company and the Intercharge network, a privately funded initiative is pushing to set up a pan-European charging infrastructure. The number of charge spot operators involved is constantly rising, and the network density of usable charge spots is increasing. There are already well over 2,000 charge spots across Europe that can be used by customers of the participating charge spot operators.

There is no doubt that everyday electromobility solutions and offerings are on their way. In the future, to be a driver of electric vehicles will be less a risky adventure and more a matter of pure driving pleasure.

What has been your experience with electromobility? Do you see other issues that need to be solved by connecting things and services improving the network?

If you are a fleet operator in the greater Karlsruhe-Pforzheim-Stuttgart area who wants to experience electromobility, then visit us at one of our Get eReady events for a test drive.

Register for a Get eReady event

About The Author

Michael Schlick

Dr. Michael Schlick has been responsible for managing public projects at Bosch Software Innovations GmbH since 2011. His focus within the Innovation Cluster Mobility is projects related to electromobility. Following his electrical engineering degree at the University of Karlsruhe (now called KIT), Dr. Schlick obtained his doctorate at Strasbourg and Mulhouse. In 1999 he began working for Robert Bosch GmbH as a central research project manager; his responsibilities included developing software for radar- and video-based driver assistance systems. In 2008, after a period spent working in internal audit, Dr. Schlick took over the project management for ECU platform development.

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