The aim of the electric car project is to test the performance of 150 electric vehicles in daily commuter traffic in the densely populated Ruhr area.
The Rhine-Ruhr Model Region is one of eight selected model regions across Germany for electric mobility. For the support program of the Federal Ministry of Transport, €150 million has been made available from Economic Stimulus Package II for testing and preparing electric vehicles for market launch between now and 2011.
The electric cars are to be integrated into the traffic along the A40 Autobhan — the most congested motorway in Germany. The project partners aim to test the electric cars 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.
The vehicle fleet consists of 40 Renault pre-production electric vehicles along with 110 converted electric cars that RWE is providing as lease vehicles.
The RWE lease vehicles, based on the Fiat 500 and baptised Karabag 500 E, are equipped with the most up-to-date lithium-ion batteries. Models based on the Fiat Fiorino are also being used. With a range of between 100 km and 140 km (60 to 80 miles) they are perfectly suited to urban driving.
Renault is providing electric models of the Kangoo Express Z.E. utility vehicle and the Fluence Z.E. mid-range family sedan, which is already due for production launch in Europe in 2011, once the project is over. Both models are already capable for market launch of a range of 160 km (100 miles), and the choice may be made between standard charging and quick charging. In addition, with the Fluence Z.E. empty batteries can be exchanged entirely automatically in just a few minutes for a fullycharged one using the Quick-Drop system.
Germany hopes to dominate the green car market. The German government last summer unveiled a national strategy to have 1 million electric cars cruise its highways by 2020.
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