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E-mobility: In Austria the Stromer are loose

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W as the pastor of Frastanz, the Bregenz police, employees of Companies, the state administration and the energy supplier Illwerke in Vorarlberg together? Quite simply: you jet through the country in electric cars, as the locals call the second smallest, but second most industrialized state in Austria.

4.7 million euros in funding at the start of the project

Under the rubrum Vlotte - an artificial word from Vorarlberg and Flotte - eight partners have taken on it to electrify the country. Among others, Illwerke vkw, the state, the regional transport association and the state insurance as well as Raiffeisen Leasing and the Vienna University of Technology are involved. With the kind support of the Austrian Climate and Energy Fund: This was looking for the best 'mobility and energy supply concept for the introduction of electric vehicles'. Vorarlberg made the race before the regions of Salzburg, Linz and Graz. The fund rewarded it with 4.7 million euros in funding at the start of the project in December 2008.

70 cars are already running in the region

In the meantime Drive 70 e-mobiles through the region - most of them are Think City from Norway. This also increasingly mixes Fiat 500, the can be converted from combustion to electric motors on the initiative of the Vlotte makers. Around 30 orders for the Fiat 500 in E version is already available. The technicians need about a week to convert two vehicles. The so-called zebra batteries based on sodium nickel chloride are supplied by the Ticino company MES-DEA. It also sells electrified versions of Renault Twingo and Fiat Panda , which are also part of the Vorarlberg electric fleet. 'The range of models will be launched with the Citroën C1 ', says Illwerke board director Christof Germann. There are also plans to send the Fiat Fiorino van for field trials.

E-car leasing at good conditions

'A total of 200 electric cars should be on the road in Vorarlberg by the end of 2010,' says Germann A third of this is likely to be conversion versions. How quickly the goal can be achieved depends on the ability of the industry to deliver. There is always demand. 'Experience so far clearly shows that electromobility works,' says the Illwerke board of directors. 2009 the company has invested 1.2 million euros in it, and the same amount is planned for the following year. 'The response from Vlotte customers has been absolutely positive,' says Germann.

Tue e Reasons for this are probably also the rapidly growing public power supply network and the attractive leasing offer for the electric runabouts. Customers pay a mobility rate of 550 euros per month - including an extended guarantee for the battery, maintenance, inspections, insurance, public transport network card and free refueling at the charging stations. There are now 20 of them - a handful also in neighboring Switzerland - and the number is expected to increase to 100 in the course of 2010.

The electricity for the electric cars comes from renewable energy sources

Preferred locations are train stations with park-and-ride areas and employee parking spaces for companies in densely populated areas Rheintal, where two thirds of Vorarlberg's businesses are based. There the electricity also comes from the socket, but all of it comes from additional renewable energy sources and not from the existing power plant capacity. 'We have committed ourselves to this,' says Christof Germann. The Illwerke primarily rely on photovoltaics, i.e. solar power, and small hydropower plants.

45 electric cars are supplied with energy for one year by 270 solar cells

The roof of a parking garage has been on the premises of the energy supplier in Bregenz since September converted into an electricity supplier: 270 solar cells generate the energy required for the annual consumption of 45 electric cars. Two more plants are planned, one of them near Dornbirn, the largest city in the state. 'Even if the number of registered electric cars increases sharply in the next few years, we can cover the additional electricity demand from renewable energies,' assures Germann.

Hydropower plants are to be expanded

The calculation is made easy: Ten percent e-mobile share means around three percent more electricity consumption and thus an additional requirement of around 60 millionKilowatt hours (kWh). Germann also sees enormous expansion potential for hydropower. It could help the state achieve energy autonomy by 2050, as decided by the state parliament in Bregenz in 2009. In Austria 60 percent, in Vorarlberg even 75 percent of the electricity is generated - tu felix Austria.

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