RWE And Renault Team Up For Electric Vehicles Project

RWE is doing pioneering work in creating a nationwide charging infrastructure: by the end of 2010, RWE Autostrom charging points will be available in all major German cities. By partnering with municipal utilities, RWE is furthermore driving the expansion of the charging infrastructure across wider regions as well.

Today, over 240 RWE charging points all over the country already supply electric cars with “green“ power generated 100% from renewable sources. In Berlin alone, RWE is planning to increase the number of charging points to 500 by the end of 2010.

RWE has set itself the goal of making flexible “refuelling“ available wherever drivers park their cars anyway. Whether at home, at work or while shopping – parking time can be put to good use for charging the car. Through the efficient use of renewable energies, e-mobility is laying the groundwork today for improved climate protection tomorrow.

The German government, which is eager to reduce the dependency on imported oil and cut carbon dioxide emissions from car traffic, supports the program with around $10 million.

The EVs are to be integrated into the traffic along the A40 Autobhan — the most congested motorway in Germany. The project partners aim to test the EVs’ performance in the high-traffic environment, which requires frequent speed changes and produces many traffic jams, and see how the cars can be best integrated into the local grid.

RWE said it will, over the next year, build an extensive network of power charging stations in Muelheim, Essen and Dortmund.

The test fleet includes 40 Renault pre-serial EVs, including the minivan Kangoo Rapid Z.E. and the five-seat Fluence Z.E., both with an all-electric distance of 100 miles. RWE offers an additional 110 electric cars for lease on the basis of two altered Fiat models. Their range is 60-100 miles.

"The project unites technology with customer proximity and a new quality of life. Electric cars become visible and touchable in the region," Christa Toben, the economy minister of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, said in a statement.

Germany hopes to dominate the electric car market. The German government last summer unveiled a national strategy to have 1 million electric cars cruise its highways by 2020.

"In 2030, this could be more than 5 million. By 2050, traffic in towns and cities could be predominantly without fossil fuels," the National Electric Mobility Plan reads.

It earmarks $700 million for sustainable mobility research and development, including programs to develop the charging station infrastructure and boost battery technology, an area of expertise that has long belonged to Asia.

But the country’s carmakers are a tad late to the green game, with the first German electric car expected to enter the market in 2012.

Nearly every automotive manufacturer is hard at work developing electrically-driven vehicles to respond to the anticipated demand. RWE experts predict that as early as 2020 some 2.5 million electric cars will be gliding down Germany’s streets. A market breakthrough is awaited very soon in Switzerland as well.

“In Switzerland, the conditions for electric cars are virtually ideal – a high level of environmental awareness and purchasing power, and short routes“, Carolin Reichert points out. “We expect to see around 500,000 electric cars in Switzerland by 2020.”

The first fully electric series vehicles will come onto the market as early as the end of 2010. A total of eight EU member states, including the United Kingdom, France and Austria, already provide support for purchasing electric vehicles.

Larger volumes and innovations will open up further potential for cutting costs. In Germany, RWE is boosting the development of this market by putting together the complete package: electric car, charging infrastructure and green power supply.