Audi A1 e-tron on trial in Munich
Pilot trial of 20 A1 e-trons aims to capture real-world user data
Twenty Audi A1 e-tron EREVs are taking to the streets of Munich in an extensive pilot trial and data capture exercise.
The fleet trial project has been initiated by Audi, the power company E.ON, the public utility Stadtwerke München (SWM) and Technische Universität München (TUM). It will help to identify how existing transport and communications infrastructure might need to adapt to support the introduction of electric vehicles.
E.ON and SWM are responsible for the charging infrastructure in the Munich area, and have already installed a demand-oriented charging network using power generated via renewable energies.
"Audi works relentlessly on comprehensive approaches which maximise benefits to customers. In this era of electric mobility, we will offer our customers a wide range of services which go beyond driving itself. For example, the networking of vehicles with their surroundings and with infrastructure as well as new concepts of mobility will be important," emphasises He adds:
"We want to use this fleet trial to learn more about our customers' usage of electric cars, and their expectations in this regard. We are planning additional fleet endeavours in strategically important markets," said Franciscus van Meel, Audi's head of electric mobility strategy.
The fleet trial will only add to the expertise we have been acquiring during more than ten pilot projects for electric mobility in six European countries," said Ruth Werhahn, head of electric mobility at E.ON. "We have blazed new trails in the charging infrastructure. We have set up not only public charging points near large cities but also innovative charging points at multi-storey car parks in city centres. Drivers simply insert their parking tickets to use the charging points and then pay for their electricity along with the parking fee."
E.ON offers a package to private individuals in Germany that comprises renewable 'green power' and a charging box for use with electric vehicles at home – subject to a safety inspection of each customer's electrical equipment to ensure that it can withstand the heavy loads associated with recharging an electric vehicle for hours. E.ON also supplies charging stations open to the general public – primarily commercial customers. At these stations, two electric cars can recharge their batteries at the same time via different charging points. Magnetic-stripe cards grant drivers access. Both types of electric fuelling stations are being used in the Munich fleet trial. In addition, E.ON is fostering the continuous enhancement of charging technology by focusing on direct-current (DC) fast charging as well as cable-free charging.
Dr. Florian Bieberbach, commercial director at SWM, said: "As the operator of streetcars and subway trains, we have more than 115 years of electric-mobility experience in public transportation. SWM is responsible for the charging infrastructure within Munich city limits; we also offer the green power which facilitates CO2-neutral driving. We want to generate enough green electricity by 2025 to supply the entire Munich metro area with electricity. Munich is thus on pace to become the world's first city of a million-plus inhabitants to achieve this ambitious goal."
During the project, TUM is collecting and analysing data on mobility, concentrating specifically on the situations in which people drive electric cars, the degree to which they drive them and how this technology will influence the use of other means of transportation. To answer these questions, the departments of Automotive Engineering and of Ergonomics have developed a mobile application that all fleet-trial participants can use on their smartphones. These devices will thoroughly document participants' mobility behaviour, taking into account everything from electric cars and combustion-engine passenger vehicles right through to buses, trains and bicycles. At the same time, the Department of Services Marketing is conducting a study to ascertain suitable models for billing electric-mobility customers.
"For researchers, it is no longer a question of whether electric mobility will catch on, but rather when. Electric mobility constitutes a paradigm shift for companies and society alike. This fleet trial allows us to learn more about people's mobility habits under a new set of circumstances," says Professor Markus Lienkamp at TU Munich's Department of Automotive Engineering. "Insights from this project can then serve as the basis for worthy approaches to sustainable individual mobility."