Berlin hosts electric-vehicle project

Car-maker Daimler and electricity supplier RWE have launched what they say is the world's largest joint project for electric cars. They will provide more than 100 vehicles and 500 charging points in Germany's capital city.

The 'e-mobility Berlin' initiative covers all components required for the efficient use of battery-powered electric vehicles, from innovative drive technology to customer-friendly infrastructure.

The German federal government is supporting the project because of its significance for sustainable mobility in the future.

Daimler will provide more than 100 electric cars from Mercedes-Benz and Smart as well as the vehicle service. RWE is handling the development, installation and operation of the charging infrastructure, comprising some 500 charging points, the supply of electricity and central control of the system.

The payment system takes the form of the exchange of data between a special in-car communication system and the intelligent charging point.

Juergen Grossmann, CEO of RWE AG, said: “We are developing a comprehensive concept including an individually-tailored, intelligent and convenient charging structure at home, at the workplace and in public places. This also includes tariffs which everyone can afford, including for example a price guarantee or in the form of an eco-power tariff.”

Daimler is supplying the new generation of Smart ED (electric drive) cars and electric-battery driven vehicles from Mercedes-Benz for the project. One of the most important innovations is the lithium-ion battery developed specifically for use in these cars. Compared with conventional batteries, this technology provides a greater range and a shorter charging time, with the possibility of smaller and lighter batteries as a result. Daimler will be launching this lithium-ion battery technology in series production next year in the Mercedes S 400 BlueHYBRID.

The partners have joined forces to develop the innovative interfaces between the vehicle and the charging station. Even at this stage these have been designed for the next step: once the corresponding batteries become available, it will be possible for the energy stored in the vehicle to be fed back into the supply network (vehicle-to-grid). This means that the vehicle battery of the future will store electricity when demand is low and feed it back into the network when demand is high. In this respect, both partners are relying on open standards and are willing to cooperate with other companies on the development of joint solutions in the future.

“The charging points will be installed at the customer’s home, at the workplace and in public parking areas. In addition, business-to-business partners such as shopping centres, car park operators and fleet customers can be connected into the infrastructure. The accounting system should be as simple and convenient as when using one’s mobile phone,” according to Grossmann.

The project is benefiting from the experience gained by Daimler during a current pilot project in London, where there has been a test fleet of first-generation Smart ForTwo ED cars since last year.

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