Daimler announces deal with RWE, 500 Berlin charging points, lithium Smart

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Daimler AG and German utility RWE are teaming up for what they are calling the largest electric car field test in the world. The "e-mobility Berlin" project will see Daimler deploy a fleet of over 100 second-generation Smart ED and Mercedes A-Class cars powered by lithium ion batteries. In order to facilitate the use of these cars around the German capitol, RWE will install 500 public charging stations. The charge points will get vehicle ID information when the cars are plugged in to allow accurate billing of the drivers. By working with the utility, Daimler wants to develop an integrated system that includes both electrically-driven vehicles and a publicly-accessible charging infrastructure. The latter is actually quite important because at least in the early years, the limited range of battery vehicles will mean that they are primarily used in urban environments. Many people living in such locales don't necessarily have a garage or other place to plug in. Automatic charging points like the ones to be deployed by RWE or those developed by Coulomb technologies here in the U.S. will be an important part of the equation. The new electric Smarts to be deployed by Daimler will use lithium ion batteries but the company has not confirmed who will supply the packs. Previously the Financial Times had reported that Tesla would be supplying the batteries for these cars.

[Source: Daimler]

Press release

"e-mobility Berlin": Daimler and RWE embarking on the age of electro-mobility

  • Joint project with more than 100 electric vehicles from Mercedes-Benz and smart and 500 charging points provided by RWE
  • Environmentally compatible and customer-friendly mobility concept
  • Serial development phase starting now – first vehicles beginning end of 2009
Berlin, September 5, 2008 – Berlin"filling up" with electricity. With "e-mobility Berlin",
Daimler AG and RWE AG are today launching the world's largest joint project for environmentally friendly electric cars. These provide locally emission-free driving, thus making a considerable contribution towards protecting the environment and reducing dependency on fossil fuels. The initiative covers all components required for the efficient use of battery-powered electric vehicles - from innovative drive technology through to customer-friendly infrastructure. 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 accounting for 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. This unique cross-sectoral co-operation brings together the specific know-how of two key industries. The project is being supported by the German federal government due to its significance in terms of sustainable mobility in the future.
"Our joint initiative is a good example of what can be achieved when policy makers, energy suppliers and the automotive industry all work together towards the same goal," says Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars. "Our mobility concept is based on an integrated solution combining electric cars suitable for everyday use and the appropriate charging infrastructure. In this way we are decisively improving customer friendliness and the suitability of electric vehicles."
"RWE has the energy to lead. With our capital and our know-how as Germany's largest power generator we are joining forces with Daimler AG to promote climate protection," states Juergen Grossmann, CEO of RWE AG. "E-mobility for every private customer – it is with this in mind that 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 – pioneering innovations from the inventor of the automobile
"We are convinced that the future of mobility is green, and the German industry has all assets for assuming a leading role in this direction. We invented the automobile and now we are reinventing it. Today, in collaboration with RWE, we are taking an important step into the future," says Zetsche.
Daimler will contribute its wealth of experience of the automotive business to the joint project, above all the knowledge it has gained from its many years of successful research and development work in the field of emission-free vehicles using electro-drive and battery technology.
The new generation of smart ed (electric drive) and electric-battery driven vehicles from Mercedes-Benz will come in use within the "e-mobility Berlin" project. One of the most important vehicle innovations is the lithium-ion battery developed specifically for the use in these cars. Compared to conventional batteries, this technology provides a greater range and a shorter charging time, with the possibility of smaller and lighter batteries as a result. As early as next year, Daimler will be launching this lithium-ion battery technology in serial production in the Mercedes S 400 BlueHYBRID.
RWE – across-the-board supply network with some 500 charging points
RWE AG is dealing with the development, installation and operation of the charging infrastructure for "e-mobility Berlin". 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 Grossmann.
Serial production of electric vehicles scheduled to start in 2010
The new project is also benefiting from the experience gained by Daimler during the current pilot project involving electro-mobility in London. Since last year, there has been a test fleet of first-generation smart fortwo ed cars in the British capital, successfully operated by authorities such as the police and others.
"e-mobility Berlin" represents an initial step towards a successful future of electro-mobility. The same applies for further similar projects in other metropolises around the world and also for the start of serial production of battery-powered vehicles by Mercedes-Benz and smart in 2010. Within the company's approach, Daimler is pursuing a standardised, integrated process covering the entire life cycle of the vehicle. Only once the development, production, operation and recycling of all components and parts of a vehicle are entirely included in this cycle, an overall balance will be achieved in ecological terms.

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