e-mobility Berlin delivers smart solutions for electric mobility

Daimler is the first European manufacturer to bring electric vehicles suitable for everyday use to market; First smart fortwo electric drive handed over to customers.

Innovative RWE electricity charging infrastructure fitting all electric vehicles goes officially on stream in Berlin. Complete package: intelligent smart electric drive including full service, intelligent RWE home charging station and free green electricity for 18 months.

The handover of the first smart fortwo electric drives to customers together with the official launch of the RWE electricity charging infrastructure introduces the next stage of electric mobility: As of today clean, intelligent and customer-friendly electric mobility is enabled by "e-mobility Berlin". From public charging stations to RWE’s home charging stations – loading and paying for green electricity is now as easy as using a mobile phone. An intelligent charging management enabling a direct data exchange between the vehicle and the charging station forms the foundation for this. Customers receive a complete package containing the smart fortwo electric drive with intelligent charging management and a full service contract, an intelligent and fast RWE home charging station and free green electricity for the first 18 months. "e-mobility Berlin" makes electric mobility convenient, safe and manageable for every customer.

The first smart electric drives will be handed over in Berlin today. In line with a full service rental model the vehicles will be passed on to selected fleet, business and private customers. In the course of the project, the Berlin fleet will be completed by Mercedes-Benz A-Class E-CELL vehicles. Daimler will provide a total of more than 100 electric vehicles with battery from smart and Mercedes-Benz for "e-mobility Berlin" and will also service and maintain them.

"Our pioneering mobility concept offers an integrated solution which combines electric cars that are absolutely suitable for everyday use with an adjusted charging infrastructure. The smart fortwo electric drive is worldwide the first electric vehicle equipped with an intelligent charging management and the latest lithium-ion technology. It combines driving pleasure with an emission-free range of 135 kilometers – more than enough for daily use in urban areas. From today this sustainable and customer-friendly electric automobile will be an integral part of Berlin’s street picture", says Dr. Dieter Zetsche, Daimler CEO and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars.

RWE is providing the area-wide intelligent electricity charging infrastructure for "e-mobility Berlin" with around 500 electricity charging stations and is also responsible for the operation, supply of green electricity and central system control of the infrastructure. Dr. Jürgen Großmann, RWE CEO says "Only green electricity from renewable sources is being used for the "e-mobility Berlin" project. Thanks to our know-how as an electricity producer we bring climate protection to individual mobility through renewable energies. We are setting up a comprehensive system with an intelligent and user-friendly charging infrastructure that is suitable for quick everyday charging at home, work and in public areas. Our technology is already creating the basis for even more climate protection in future, especially the more efficient use of renewable energies."

Rainer Brüderle, Federal Minister for Economics and Technology, affirms the federal government’s support for businesses’ climate protection efforts: “I have faith in the innovative strength of our industry and research institutions. To make sure Germany remains a leader in automotive technology in future, we need to work together across industries. This is the only way we will be able to solve the open questions of storage technology and infrastructure for electric mobility. The joint fleet project being undertaken by Daimler and RWE is an outstanding example of such cooperation. With substantial funding for research and development projects in the fields of transport, energy and information and communications technology, the federal government is supporting the development of market-ready products and hence raising Germany’s profile as a centre for innovation in these sectors. Starting in early 2010 the Joint Agency for Electric Mobility planned by the federal government will coordinate the implementation of the National Development Plan for Electric Mobility as central contact point for both businesses and the scientific community.”

Charging and paying: as easy as using a mobile phone

So electricity charging is even more convenient than filling up with petrol today. The preconditions are easy technical handling ("Plug & Charge"), the automatic exchange of information between the vehicle and the charging station during the charging process and a customer-friendly and safe billing system – as simple as for a mobile phone. In the framework of the "e-mobility Berlin" project customers conclude a contract for automotive electricity with RWE. The personal contract code (ID) is called up only once via the internet by the vehicle with the signing process familiar from online banking and saved in the RWE co-contractor billing system. When contact between the vehicle and the charging station has been established by the charging cable, the electronics on board the smart fortwo electric drive and the charging point enable all relevant information such as the identification data for the electricity contract to be exchanged with the electricity grid.

The charging process is only automatically activated when the personal ID is recognized. Among other things this enables a convenient, simple and – above all – secure billing at all times. Customers receive a single electricity bill from RWE regardless of where and from which charging station operator they get the electricity for their smart. This has the advantage for customers that they do not need to actively gain access, for example with a PIN or a credit card. At the same time data protection is guaranteed in all processes through the encryption and anonymisation of customer data. As a further function, drivers are able to monitor the status of the charging process and therefore the current range of their smart fortwo electric drive anywhere and at any time, for example via a smartphone such as an iPhone, a Blackberry or any PC with internet access. Drivers are also able to pre-air-condition their smart fortwo electric drive as long as their vehicle is being charged at home or at a charging station. No other car offers the comfortable options of pre-heating in winter and pre-cooling in summer.

The vehicle electronics also form the basis for features to be implemented in the smart fortwo electric drive and the A-Class E-CELL in future such as the possibility of actively controlling the charging process. For example, by retrieving the maximum available charging capacity and the corresponding electricity costs from the supplier whilst the vehicle is stationary. This enables the most economical charging strategy for the vehicle to be calculated. If the electric smart is parked for a longer period of time, the car can be recharged at times when there is a lower network load and therefore electricity is mostly available more cheaply, for example during the night.
With its various billing, control and monitoring functions the intelligent overall system of "vehicle and charging point" guarantees extremely customer-friendly electric mobility that is convenient and safe.

Full safety and individual online monitoring options via internet

Maximum safety for users is also guaranteed from a physical perspective: the plug and cable register whether charging point and vehicle connection are in perfect order and condition. Only then are the respective connections locked so that the electricity can flow. This means that there is practically no risk to the user through incorrect operation. There are no exposed electrical connections in the system and the cables are always de-energized when not in use. If the vehicle is connected to a charging station or home charging station customers have the individual possibilities to obtain information, to monitor or to control online. For example the current charging status can be called up online with a laptop or an internet-compatible mobile phone.

Pioneering solutions for a worldwide technology standard

In addition, further innovative technologies are used in the vehicle and the charging system. Together with 20 car manufacturers, suppliers and energy providers, RWE and Daimler have jointly developed a charging plug which shall be established as a standard throughout Europe. The target of all cooperation partners is to create a mandatory standard for charging interfaces for electric vehicles in Europe respectively worldwide. This global standardisation is an essential precondition for setting up a smoothly functioning as well as customer-friendly electricity charging infrastructure so that electric vehicles are accepted by customers and used across all vehicle classes in the long run. To standardise the communication interface between the vehicle and the charging station Daimler and RWE have also jointly developed a communication protocol that is available to third parties free of charge on the internet to enable them to develop their own products – in line with the open source idea. This should ensure that the communication protocol is constantly developed further – like the Unix operating system in the computer world – and not affected by industrial property rights.

Daimler – driving force for electric mobility that is innovative and suitable for everyday use

Within the initiative "e-mobility Berlin" Daimler is the first European car manufacturer to bring battery-driven electric vehicles that are suitable for everyday use to market in appreciable numbers. The smart fortwo electric drives to be applied in the Berlin project are part of an initial series of 1,000 vehicles. Production of these vehicles started at smart’s Hambach plant in mid-November. In the course of the next year the vehicles will take to the roads in a total of eight countries. In addition to Germany, smart fortwo electric drives will be handed over to customers in Italy, Spain, England, France and Switzerland. The market launch in the USA and Canada will start in the second half of 2010. Dr. Zetsche says "About ten years ago smart reinvented urban mobility. The second generation of our smart fortwo electric drive is the next milestone in the compact smart fortwo’s career which has been "green" right from the start. Volume production will start in 2012 and then the electric smart will be available to anyone interested."

The electric drive of the intelligent two-seater convinces not only by being environmentally compatible and suitable for everyday use – but also by being fun to drive. The second generation surpasses its predecessor which has been successfully tested in London since 2007 in every respect, starting with the high range. With capacity of 16.5 kWh the highly efficient lithium-ion battery enables the vehicle to travel 135 kilometers – 30 percent more than before. The battery capacity can be charged from around 30 percent to around 80 percent in just three to four hours – that equates a distance of more than 100 kilometers. If a public charging station or the RWE home charging station is not available, the smart fortwo electric drive can also be charged at a normal household socket. The smart makes the emission-free electric drive an ideal alternative for urban mobility. A 30 kW electric motor is fitted at the rear and provides good acceleration with 120 Newton meters of torque immediately available from the start. Thanks to the no-shift electric drive it also guarantees high agility. The smart developers also attached great importance to the safety concept. The driver and passenger are seated above the impact zone and the battery is located between the side members, cross members and the two axles where it is also extremely well protected. This means that the full interior space is retained in the compact 2.7 meter smart.

RWE – pacemaker for an intelligent charging infrastructure

RWE is establishing and operating the charging infrastructure for "e-mobility Berlin". 500 charging points are being successively set up in urban areas of Berlin. Parallel to this RWE is erecting publicly accessible charging stations in all large cities and metropolitan regions in Germany, for example on public roads, in APCOA multi-storey car parks and in front of all large ADAC offices. By the end of 2010 customers will find the first RWE automotive electricity charging stations in all large German cities. In addition, together with partners from public services, RWE is driving the comprehensive expansion of a charging infrastructure forward. RWE’s goal is flexible "refuelling" wherever cars are parked anyway – at home, work or on a shopping trip. This is how electric driving will become suitable for everyday use.

The charging stations for public operation and the RWE home charging stations are completely new developments. RWE attached great importance to safety, an attractive design and maximum user-friendliness. The central system control is also new. In future, it will enable even more efficient use of electricity from renewable energy sources and will compensate demand peaks in the grid – in line with the principle "Greater protection of the environment through innovation!", as Jürgen Großmann says.

The RWE charging stations already deliver tomorrow’s technology today. They enable fast charging and have an assured charging capacity of 22 kW at RWE home charging stations and 44 kW at public charging stations. Compared with this, a normal household socket supplies a maximum of 3.7 kW.

Convenient, low cost and transparent electricity charging

With a consumption of just 12 kWh per 100 kilometers the smart fortwo electric drive represents the most economical and environmentally friendly way of driving a car in urban areas. An exemplary solution for driving locally emission-free into the future. Environmental zones with entry restrictions are increasingly being set up in many cities, from which electric cars with no emissions are exempt. In addition to possible state subsidies, for example the tax relief that buyers of electric cars are already entitled to in various European countries, this is a further way of reducing running costs. Furthermore, the energy costs are lower compared with fossil fuels. Within "e-mobility Berlin", the green electricity from RWE is free for the first 18 months.