The battery is the most expensive component of electric vehicles. It determines their range and charging duration. Boosting its capacity and lowering its price is critical for the market potential of electromobility. Therefore, the showcase programme worked on improving batteries, however, from a point of view of utilisation and demand.
Energy / Charging Infrastructure
Due to limited battery capacity, the range of electric vehicles is limited. Although electromobility can currently already be used for city traffic and/or commuting, it requires public charging facilities for longer distances. In addition, many users are unable to charge their vehicles at home. Consequently, a publicly accessible charging infrastructure with a clearly defined framework is necessary for a breakthrough of electromobility.
Vehicles propelled by an electric motor are much less complex than vehicles with internal combustion engines. For example, they do not need a mechanical gearbox. This gives automotive designers the freedom to develop new vehicle concepts.
Information and communication technologies (ICTs) are an integral part of today’s conventional and electric vehicles. They are particularly important for e-vehicles due to their limited range, helping the driver for instance find both the route with the minimum power consumption and the next charging station.
The share of electric vehicles in the overall car market is still very small. In the future, however, they are to conquer a wide group of customers, thus becoming instrumental in implementing a mobility landscape oriented towards sustainability. Many projects of the showcase programme studied how this can be achieved, in order to support the market run-up phase of electromobility.
The rapid growth of individual traffic in metropolitan areas and the reduction of public transport in the countryside require the development of mobility concepts which are able to smoothly connect the different modes of transport. The showcase programme showed that electric vehicles will play an important role in this process.
In order for electromobility to gain wide acceptance, it has to be offered in a way that meets the needs of as many users as possible. To achieve this, many showcase projects analysed user behaviour and collected information on what different groups of customers expect from mobility.
In Germany, road traffic and its infrastructure are a matter of public interest and are governed by rules and statutory regulations. Therefore, electromobility can only become a success if the conditions for electromobility in the public framework are defined in a positive manner. This may require changing existing rules and regulations as well as passing new laws.
Towns and cities today are not designed for electromobility. Electric vehicles and new mobility concepts, however, place particular demands on the infrastructure of urban areas. At the same time offering new potential for urban development. In other words, electromobility and urban development are closely intertwined. Several showcase projects dealt with this topic.
Systemic Approach / Environment
Electromobility is not the domain of a single industry. Rather it needs to be implemented across industries. Close cooperation between automotive, energy, information, and communication industries is imperative to turn electromobility into an environmentally friendly and economically viable system.
The objective of traffic management is to optimise traffic flow within an existing infrastructure. Considering electric vehicles in traffic management places new demands on those responsible for traffic systems. Therefore, a critical target of the showcase programme was to detect and understand these demands.
Commercially used vehicle fleets are operated over long distances according to a predictable schedule. This enables the high acquisition costs of electric vehicles to be amortised in a relatively short period of time. Therefore, some showcase projects proved the economic and ecological benefits of electromobility in commercial fleets.
Education and further Training
In the area of education and training, the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) commissioned a parallel impact research named “Network for Electromobility Qualifications (NQuE)” which was designed to supplement the showcase projects, but also went beyond their scope. The Federal Institute for Vocational Training in cooperation with IKA/RWTH Aachen and Ingolstadt Technical College carried out the project. The first stage involved an analysis of the current status of the initial eMob-related qualifications, including training, vocational and academic education in Germany. Based on the appropriate criteria, examples of best practice have been identified and documented on the NQuE internet platform. This enabled to set standards for good training programmes related to the new technologyand to stimulate networking between the participants involved including across industries.