Twenty units of the Audi A1 e-tron plug-in hybrids on the roads of the Munich pilot region in a fleet trial by Audi, E.ON, the public utility Stadtwerke München (SwM), and Technische Universität München (TUM).
The Audi A1 e-tron is an electric car with a range extender. Its output of 75 kW (102 hp) enables the A1 e-tron to reach a top speed of 130 km/h (80.78 mph). If the battery runs out of energy, then a compact combustion engine – the range extender – recharges the battery as needed to boost the vehicle’s operating range to as much as 250 km (155 miles). This compact electric car is a zero-emissions vehicle for the first 50 kilometers (31 miles) of a trip – in city traffic, for instance. The battery comprises a package of lithium-ion modules mounted in the floor assembly in front of the rear axle. In short, the four-seat A1 e-tron was designed for daily driving in metropolitan areas. It consumes a mere 1.9 l/100 km (123.80 US mpg), for a CO2 equivalent of just 45 g/km (72.42 g/mile).
The Audi A1 e-tron fleet trial is part of the “Modellregion Elektromobilität München” (Electric Mobility in Munich as a Pilot Region) project, sponsored by Germany’s Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Development. The Ministry is providing the region with some ten million euros for electric mobility. This project will address a number of issues, ranging from the power grid itself to data transfer between drivers, vehicles, and electric fueling stations. For example, the use of a smartphone as a driver’s main interface will be examined.
E.ON and SWM are in charge of expanding and maintaining the charging infrastructure in the Munich metropolitan area. E.ON and SWM have installed a demand-oriented charging infrastructure; SWM within the Bavarian capital’s city limits and E.ON primarily in outlying areas. All electric fueling stations offer power generated via renewable energies.
E.ON has already developed commercially viable charging solutions for various scenarios. For example, the company markets a package to private individuals in Germany: green power and a charging box for use at home. But E.ON first conducts a safety inspection of these customers’ electrical equipment. After all, not every electrical outlet and its wiring is designed to 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 fueling 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.
TUM is collecting and analyzing data on people’s mobility during the project. In which situations do people drive electric cars and to what degree? And how will this technology 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. More specifically, these devices will thoroughly document participants’ mobility behavior – from their use of bicycles through electric cars and combustion-engine passenger vehicles to buses and trains. At the same time, the Department of Services Marketing is conducting a study to ascertain suitable models for billing electric-mobility customers.