Daimler is joining forces with RWE, one of the largest energy providers, to create a network of electric cars and charging stations in Berlin. According to a Daimler press release via EVWorld Newswire, “the payment system takes the form of the exchange of data between a special in-car communication system and the intelligent charging point.”
Since last year, there has been a test fleet of smart fortwo cars operated by authorities such as the police and others in London. The success of the battery-powered, all electric vehicles as a pilot project in the British capital convinced Daimler that “e-mobility Berlin” could be a “go”.
Some 500 charging points are being set up for the large-scale project within the city of Berlin. This may be gradually extended. The partners have joined forces to develop the innovative interfaces between the vehicle and the “electricity filling station” as required for effective, customer-friendly and convenient everyday operation.
Even at this early stage these are already designed for the next step: Once the corresponding batteries become available, it will also 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 this electricity back in 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 Juergen Grossmann, CEO of RWE AG..
The German federal government is supporting the project due to its significance in terms of sustainable mobility in the future. The project also goes hand-in-hand with Germany’s efforts to develop renewable energy.
An important innovation of the “e-mobility Berlin” project is the lithium-ion battery developed specifically for the use in these cars. Compared to conventional batteries, the large format, advanced lithium battery pack and battery management system initially developed for the Ultra-Low Carbon Car Challenge project by Lithium Technology Corporation, together with Zytek and I+ME, provides a greater range and a shorter charging time.
More controversial is the V2G (Vehicle 2 Grid) potential. When electric vehicles are connected to charging stations and local demand to the network is high, then electricity from the on-board lithium-ion packs could be fed back into the network. With communication already in place between the cars and the network operator, at the very least charging of the vehicles could be slowed or stopped when demand for electricity is highest.