Audi has announced that it will partner with utilities E.ON and Stadtwerke München (SWM) as well as the Technical University of Munich (TUM) launch a field test program with its A1 e-tron in Munich, Germany by mid-2011. The automaker will supply 20 of the extended-range electric vehicles to its partners for an evaluation of the communication systems between the driver, vehicle and grid. Smartphone applications that let drivers monitor and manage charging will be a big part of the test program.
The A1 e-tron was unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show earlier this year and uses a novel powertrain setup. The lithium-ion battery pack gives 30 miles of driving range before a range-extender powered by a small single-rotor Wankel fires up. Under the current EU draft proposal for measuring fuel consumption of ER-EVs, Audi estimates the A1 e-tron will get about 124 miles per gallon combined.
Electromobility on the way to market maturity: Pilot project starts in Munich model region
- Project partners Audi, E.ON, Stadtwerke München and the Technical University of Munich
- 20 Audi A1 e-tron models to gradually hit the road
- 200 "electric filling stations" to be built
- Green electricity at all charging stations
The Audi A1 e-tron is an innovative Mega City Vehicle (MCV) with an electric drive. It has a range of more than 50 kilometers in city traffic and a peak power output of 75 kW (102 hp). A compact internal combustion engine recharges the battery when its energy is depleted. Top speed is
130 km/h (80.78 mph). The compact MCV is a zero-emissions vehicle for the first 50 kilometers (31.07 miles) that it is underway, such as in city traffic. The battery comprises a package of lithium-ion modules mounted in the floor assembly in front of the rear axle.
A small, single-rotor Wankel engine in this near-series vehicle increases the range in exceptional circumstances. This "range extender" powers a generator that produces 15 kW of charging power. If the range extender is used to recharge the battery, the A1 e-tron can cover an additional 200 kilometers (124.27 miles) of range. According to a draft standard for the computation of fuel consumption for range extender vehicles, this represents a fuel consumption of 1.9 l/100 km (123.80 mpg) – a CO2 equivalent of only 45 g/km (72.42 g/mile).
E.ON and SWM are installing the necessary charging infrastructure; E.ON primarily in the outlying areas and SWM in the Bavarian state capital. The two utility companies are initially installing a total of 100 "electric filling stations" each as part of a variety of projects. All of the charging stations are supplied with electricity generated from renewable energies.
The Technical University of Munich is responsible for comprehensive data collection and evaluation of mobility behavior. How heavily and in which situation is the electric car being used? And what influence does this option have on the use of other means of transportation? To answer these questions, the Department of Vehicle Engineering has developed a mobile application that will be provided on a smartphone to all participants of the fleet trial. The device will thoroughly document their mobility behavior – from their use of bicycles to the electric cars and from conventional cars to buses and trains. To ensure that the participants always use the smartphone, the Department of Ergonomics made sure that the application features an easy-to-use design that encourages use over the long-term. At the same time, the Department of Marketing is conducting a study to discover which billing models for the electricity used for e-mobility meet with the greatest acceptance.
The fleet trial is being supported by the German Federal Ministry of Transport as part of a publically-funded project. "Electromobility is not an abstract technology issue. At its core is the question of how the transportation systems of the future should look. We are therefore funding electromobility under real-world conditions in our model regions – a large field test, so to speak. Projects like these provide us with important insight into how to make electromobility a success, both in the city and in rural areas. In the Munich model region, we are providing approximately €10 million in funding for electromobility. This money is a smart investment in the future. Our goal is clear: We want to make Germany the lead market for electromobility and put at least one million electric vehicles on German roads by 2020," says Federal Transport Minister Peter Ramsauer.
"Audi is working hard on the future of mobility. "We are trying to find a concept that requires no compromises," says Rupert Stadler, Chairman of the Board of Management of AUDI AG, who continues, "Electromobility means more to us than just electrifying conventional cars. Instead we are dedicated to a holistic approach to all aspects of the topic. We hope that this fleet trial will enable us to gain broad insights into the behavior but also the expectations of our customers regarding their dealings with electric cars. Of course, the data that we will collect are another aspect. This market and technology feedback will enable us to further expand our expertise in electrification.
Klaus-Dieter Maubach, Member of the Board of Management of E.ON AG, Technology, adds, "In this project, we are shifting the locations of our electric filling stations to existing parking lots as was suggested by our knowledge of user behavior. We are equipping private garages or parking garages, for example, with charging stations. We hope that this will allow us to further develop the technology of the charging points and the communication with the grid operator, in particular, and thus secure our leadership role in the development of electric filling stations. Intelligent charging points are more than just electric filling stations. They are the prerequisite for using vehicle batteries as intermediate storage for renewable energies in the intelligent power grids of the future.
As an operator of subways and trams, SWM has decades of experience with electric mobility in short-range public transportation. The expansion of the charging infrastructure marks their entry to the field of sustainable individual mobility. "The SWM charging stations will 'pump' nothing but our green electricity," says Dr. Florian Bieberbach, Commercial Director of SWM, reducing the vehicles' CO2 emissions to zero. Our efforts to expand renewable energies is the foundation allowing us to do this. By 2025, we hope to generate enough green electricity in our own plants to meet the electricity needs of the entire population of Munich – including the requirements of electric vehicles. This would make Munich the first city of over one million inhabitants to achieve this ambitious goal."
"For researchers, it is no longer a question of whether electric mobility will be able to establish itself, but rather of when. Electromobility means a paradigm shift for industry and society, making it a central strategic focus of the TUM," says Professor Wolfgang A. Hermann, President of the Technical University of Munich. "The Science Center for Electromobility at TUM pools the expertise of 42 departments from eight schools, which are working hard to contribute to the development of sustainable individual mobility."