Charging the e-car while waiting for the next guest? What was previously impractical for cabs due to wired charging stations and the advance principle in public places could change with the possibility of inductive charging.
The Chair of International Automotive Management at the University of Duisburg-Essen (UDE) has been testing this successfully for a year and a half. A "large" pilot installation is to follow at the end of 2021. The joint project "Taxi Charging Concept for Public Areas" (TALAKO) is being funded with 2 million euros from the German Federal Ministry of Economics.
The first barrier-free cab with inductive charging technology recently hit the streets of Mühlheim. There, a cab company has already put a pilot system into operation in its yard. "In this way, we are making mobility more sustainable, both ecologically and socially," says Prof. Heike Proff. However, the diesel quota of cab fleets in Germany is still 85 percent.
An inductive charging strip is integrated underground into the cab queue. The counterpart is attached to the underbody of the e-vehicle. When the two systems recognize each other, charging can begin. The car's assistance system, which is connected to an exterior camera, shows whether one has parked optimally. The charging power is 20 kW - about the same as the e-car receives with conventional cable charging. The latter is still possible. Enough electricity is "refueled" for about one kilometer per minute, explains Daniel Jaspers from the research team.
According to the research team, the waiting time for cabs at the station is about 45 minutes on average. This means that 150 kilometers of wireless charging are accumulated on average in one shift. By comparison, the e-taxi used by British vehicle manufacturer LEVC can travel 120 to 150 kilometers on a fully charged charge. Exactly how much depends on how the vehicle is used and the number of passengers. If the trip does get longer, the range extender kicks in. A fuel-powered generator that extends the range by 500 kilometers when needed.
The UDE researchers plan to complete the project and present their results in early 2022. The city of Cologne is already convinced: it plans to subsidize four of the 70,000-euro vehicles with 12,000 euros each and set up a system with six charging stations using electricity from the local provider by the end of the year. "If five percent of the 1,200 cabs in Cologne are electrified, 50,000 tons of CO2 can be saved annually," explains Jaspers.
In addition to the UDE and LEVC, the TALAKO project consortium includes the University of Wuppertal, the City of Cologne, INTIS, RheinEnergie and TaxiRuf (Cologne).
Universität Duisburg-Essen Inst. Arbeit und Qualifikation - IAQ