Purchasing electric vehicles still entails additional costs which pose challenges both to commercial enterprises as well as private individuals in terms of their financing. For the most part, the onboard battery capacity determines the additional costs incurred. In this context, the electrification of the taxi business with the aid of an inductive charging system and smaller battery capacities will be facilitated over the medium term.
This will be developed and tested in the framework of the LaneCharge research project at the Hochschule Hannover – University of Applied Sciences and Arts. The project is being funded under the BMVI’s electric mobility funding guideline in the amount of 3.7 million euros by the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure. The funding guideline is coordinated by NOW GmbH and implemented by Projektträger Jütlich (PtJ).
The principle of inductive energy transmission can already be found in thousands of homes in the form of electric toothbrushes or induction hobs. Compared to conventional, cable-based charging, an inductive charging system allows energy transmission to take place via an air gap. The transfer of this principle to charging electric vehicles makes the parking metre-like charging poles redundant because of the elimination of charging cables. This facilitates new thinking in the charging process.
In this way an unobstructed charging system can be set up at a taxi stand: there are no charging cables on the ground to pose a danger for passers-by. In addition, the taxis can comfortably move forward in their usual way in the line, without having to constantly unplug and replug a charging cable. The main focus however is on the interim charging that the taxis can obtain while they wait for new customers. The battery still accounts for more than 30 per cent of the manufacturing costs of an electric vehicle. Aside from the additional costs, the taxi business is wary of the low ranges of an electric vehicle. Both problems can be managed with an inductive charging system. Because of interim charging parallel to operation, no extra time for charging is required and due to the continuous charging, the batteries don’t need to be larger than necessary. This saves raw materials and above all money, which makes the e-taxi appealing from a business perspective.
Not only does the battery offer savings potential, the entire electric drive train is more streamlined that a conventional vehicle. The electric engine in particular, provides the advantage that in combination with a battery-electric drive train, it is substantially less expensive and more efficient to operate than its fossil counterpart. Taking into account interior cooling or heating according to the time of year, not only the economic, but also the ecological advantages outweigh those of a conventional engine. Joining vehicle queues with running engines at the taxi ranks in the middle of summer or winter is a thing of the past, as the energy required can be directly absorbed from the ground and can cool or heat using zero emissions.
In order to be able to represent these effects in figures, a test track will be constructed at the Hannover central station in the framework of the research project. Twelve transmitter coils will be integrated into the street throughout almost the entire length of the taxi rank on Runde Strasse in order to be able to evaluate the operation of two electric taxis. Through the embedded transmitter coils, pedestrian trip hazards are avoided, there are no bumps on the ground for vehicles and the cityscape remains undisturbed.
Under the direction of the Hochschule Hannover – University of Applied Sciences and Arts, the project will be undertaken with the following partners: EDAG Engineering GmbH, enercity, Götting KG, Hallo Taxo 3811 GmbH, Landeshauptstadt Hannover, SUMIDA Components & Modules GmbH and the Institut für Straßenwesen der Technischen Universität Braunschweig (Braunschweig Pavement Engineering Centre).