U te Martens from Berlin-Mariendorf has quite clear ideas: 'Electric cars should be developed more to overcome the dependence on fossil fuels.' The 55-year-old doctor also wants the energy required for mobility to be generated in Europe.
The curiosity about technology fascinated me
Karl-Thomas Brie, managing director of a company for medical products, has a strong interest in future technologies . 'The electric car has often been declared dead. I am curious to see whether it can be realized with the latest technology,' says the 58-year-old Berliner from Treptow-Köpenick. And Martina Nikolajewski from Rudow frankly admits: 'My curiosity about the technology motivated me to take part.'
Like Ute Martens and Karl-Thomas Brie, the 44-year-old financial expert is one of the first 50 citizens of Berlin who are test drivers in the largest field test to date in Germany on electric mobility 'Mini E Berlin - powered by Vattenfall' - With the kind support of the Federal Environment Ministry, which supports the ten million euro project, and with the scientific support of the Technical Universities of Chemnitz, Ilmenau and Berlin.
Over 700 applications for 50 cars
More than 700 applications were received after the project was announced on the Internet mini-site, although the cost and time required was clear from the start: 400 euros monthly usage rate for the Mini E, plus the obligation, one way - and to keep a charging diary, as well as three detailed surveys by the employees of the TU Chemnitz. Among other things, they wanted to find out who the potential users are and what motivations led to the application. 'A cross-section of all reports is represented in the test fleet,' says Andreas Keinath, who is responsible for concept quality at BMW, among other things.
The typical Mini E-user looks like this: mostly 35 years and older, male, very educated and with an above average income. He has a high affinity for the new technology and uses the second car for daily commuting. The range offered matches his daily mobility needs. He also wants to support environmental protection and more independence from oil.
He must have a garage or a parking space in order to use a high-voltage socket as a fast charging stationinstall, and there must be a connection to the cellular network. Glenn Schmidt, who is responsible for planning and controlling project i at BMW, explains why: 'Controlled charging is at the heart of the experiment.'
Controlled charging with eco-energy
And this is how it works: The user indicates via the Internet when he wants to find the car 100 percent charged in the morning. Since most vehicles are parked significantly longer than the four hours required to fully charge, electricity can flow preferentially when wind power peaks are fed into the grid or when there is little demand. This is organized by mobile radio via a central server of the TU Ilmenau. Immediate charging is also possible at the push of a button - with certified green electricity, of course. 'That gives the users a great sense of security,' says Glenn Schmidt - 88 percent said this was on record. And over 90 percent of users are convinced that controlled charging contributes to the effective use of renewable energies.
'After the end of the first six-month trial phase, however, it became apparent that connection behavior fluctuated considerably, which was counterproductive for the idea of controlled charging is ', says Schmidt. Because the Mini E only went online about every three days, according to the balance sheet - three quarters of them, however, at night. Vattenfall has now set up more than 30 charging stations in Berlin, and there are to be 50. 'That is more than sufficient because customers mainly use the charging facility at home,' says Schmidt. Most of the charging stations are on private but publicly accessible land. 'The choice of location must match user behavior.' For him, ideal locations are parking spaces for large companies, multi-storey car parks, shopping centers, but also cultural institutions such as museums or cinemas and recreational areas.
The range of the E-Mini is sufficient for many
More than 90 percent of mini e-drivers find the average maximum range of 150 kilometers sufficient for their daily needs, and 66 percent see no deficits in flexibility compared to a conventional vehicle. 'That's a very good result for youTest vehicle with limited space, 'says Andreas Keinath happily. For the BMW E protagonists, the Mini-Stromer is purely an experimental device. The knowledge gained so far leaves them optimistic about the market launch of the E-Version and the Looking ahead to the future of the BMW Megacity Vehicle.
Large-scale tests also in England and the USA
But how do customers in other markets assess this? Different needs and habits? To answer these questions, another 40 Mini E have been on the road in England in the Oxford region since October last
year and 450 in the US states of California, New York and New Jersey since June 2009. Partners are the universities and energy suppliers located there. 'The field tests are carried out according to the same system and with the same effort as in Germany,' says Andreas Keinath.
In Great Britain, e-mobility is almost a tradition ion: Since the end of 2006, 100 electric smartphones have been roaming the city toll metropolis London. A final balance is not yet available: Daimler is also using ten Fuso Canter Eco Hybrids there for customers and postal services. Next year, in the London region, large numbers of Mercedes Vitos with electric drives are also to be delivered to fleet operators. In the USA, too, Daimler is showing the green flag for light and heavy commercial vehicles: There are currently more than 450 Freightliner Walk-in Hybrid vans and 2,700 Orion Hybrid buses in use - and the trend is rising.
For The large-scale Paris experiment lacks the electric cars
The Grande Nation's plan to accelerate Parisian traffic with electric drives is only making slow progress. Months ago, the French capital wanted to provide 3,000 electric cars for hire and install 1,000 charging stations in the city. No car manufacturer was able to deliver 3,000 electric cars at short notice - the 'Autolib' project has been a long time coming.