Elektromotive hopes to electrify many of the Mercedes-Benz and Smart dealership throughout the UK. Completing the entire task may take some time, but the charging stations are being installed as quickly as possible in anticipation of the release of the Smart ED electric drive. The charging bays will help dealerships accommodate test drives of the electric Smart, which should begin to reach the lots later this summer. Looking at the bigger picture, the companies hope that their initial efforts to charge up the UK will be noticed and other major automakers will quickly follow suit. Follow the jump for more info on the partnership between Mercedes-Benz, Smart and Elektromotive.
[Source: Elektromotive | Image: Permission granted by Elektromotive Ltd.]
MERCEDES-BENZ AND SMART DEALERS TAKE THE LEAD ON EVs
Mercedes-Benz and smart are preparing for the widespread uptake of electric vehicles (EVs) in the UK by beginning the installation of recharging points across their dealer networks. So far 20 Elektrobay recharging units, produced in the UK by Brighton-based Elektromotive, have been installed at seven locations as part of a pilot project, and further expansion of the initiative is planned later this year.
smart will be starting public trials of the latest version of the zero emission, smart electric drive later this summer. The Elektrobays have been given designated charging bays at Mercedes-Benz / smart sites and can be used now by motorists involved in the smart fortwo electric drive trial.
So far three units have been installed at Mercedes-Benz World in Weybridge, Surrey, a further three at the Mercedes-Benz UK in Milton Keynes, four at the flagship Mercedes-Benz dealership in Brentford, seven at three Mercedes-Benz dealerships in the Midlands, and three outside the showroom on Edgware Road, London.
All of the installation work has been undertaken by Vinci Energies United Kingdom, which is partnering with Elektromotive to deploy an infrastructure in the UK capable of charging electric vehicles whenever they are stationary at home, in public car parks, at the kerbside and at the workplace.
"Electric vehicles will form an increasingly important part of our product development plans, and it is crucial that we put in place a recharging infrastructure to help our dealers and customers join the zero-emission revolution," commented Dermot Kelly, Managing Director Mercedes-Benz Cars. "Elektromotive is the natural partner for this project, and we are delighted with the work that they have done so far in getting the Elektrobay recharging points up and running."
Calvey Taylor-Haw, Managing Director of Elektromotive, adds: "This is the first time that Elektromotive has worked so closely with a vehicle manufacturer to install Elektrobays at dealerships. It is an exciting and important development in the creation of a nationwide recharging infrastructure, and is an approach we expect to be copied by other car makers and their retail networks in the UK and beyond."
Founded in 2003, Elektromotive is the world's leading provider of technology and engineering solutions for electric vehicle recharging stations. The company's main product is the Elektrobay, a recharging station for on-street or multi-storey car park use.
The simple-to-operate Elektrobay was first introduced in Westminster, London, in 2006, and there are now more than 135 units located across the capital. A further 165 fully-operational Elektrobay charging stations have been installed in cities and shopping centres around the UK. The Brighton-based company also exports Elektrobays to Belgium, Denmark, Luxembourg, Iceland, Sweden, The Netherlands, Germany, South Korea and Saudi Arabia.
Elektrobays are typically situated next to parking bays, within easy reach of an electric vehicle's charging point. The Elektrobay's socket is located under a secure, weather-proof door, accessed using a personalised key fob. When charging is in progress, the door locks shut to prevent interference. With a power output of 240 volts AC and 13 amps in the UK, or 230 volts AC and 16 amps in Europe, Elektrobay is compatible with all fully-electric and plug-in electric hybrid vehicles.