The development aims to offer full electric mobility for the everyday commuter traffic along the A40 motorway and is focused on the towns of Mulheim, Essen and Dortmund. A fleet of 150 electric vehicles will be available for the aforementioned route. The program will have its dedicated charging infrastructure, due to be introduced next year, and will use a GPS data gathering system, aimed at improving route planing and charging efficiency. The whole action will be closely monitored for scientific evaluation.
The project has been developed by multiple institutes and companies, including RWE Effizienz GmbH, Renault Deutschland AG, the automotive engineering research company,
Forschungsgesellschaft Kraftfahrwesen mbH Aachen, and the Institut fur Hochspannungstechnik (High-Voltage Engineering Institute) of RWTH Aachen University. The development will be coordinated by the project’s control center EnergieAgentur.NRW.
The vehicles fleet used for the testing consists of 40 Renault pre-production electric vehicles and 110 converted electric cars that RWE is offering as lease vehicles. The Renault cars (40 units) are Kangoo Express Z.E. utility vehicles and Fluence Z.E. saloons. The cars offer a driving range of 160 km - the Fluence Z.E. also features a battery swap system. The RWE lease vehicles (110 units) are based on Fiat 500s minis and Fiat Fiorino utility vehicles, that have been converted for electric use and are powered by lithium-ion battery packs. These electric 500s are now called Karabag 500E. These offer a range of between 100 and 140 km, and, through their compact size, are suited for urban driving.