North Rhine-Westphalia en route to becoming Europe's first large-scale pilot region for electromobility
1. Trends, potentials and challenges
Dynamic developments in technology and economy are anticipated in the next ten years in the field of electromobility. Electrical power units (hybrid, battery and fuel cell vehicles) offer great potential for lessening dependence on oil imports and reducing emissions of CO2 and local pollutants. Plug-in and battery electric vehicles are the first choice here from the point of view of energy efficiency.
This has also been recognised by other countries such as the USA, Japan and China, who are already supporting their industries on the road to electromobility with wide-ranging programmes.
Boosts to innovation and employment in the area of energy storage come from large-scale industry, from SMEs and also from highly innovative start-up enterprises. In the German Federal Government's National Development Plan, science, industry and politics are to come together to develop and pursue a concerted strategy for electromobility, from basic research to market launch. This process takes account of the whole added value chain, from materials, components, cells and batteries to the entire system and its application. The development and introduction of electromobility will stimulate innovation across the whole of German industry.
Electromobility will bring sectors together which have previously had very little common connection: firstly, the automobile and the power supply industries, but also the chemicals industry and, not least, the information and communications technology sector. The success in harnessing the synergy potentials in this new set-up will greatly depend on defining the interface between electric vehicles and the power grid. Important contributions will be required from companies and research institutions working on information and communications technologies. The supply industry can also be expected to play an increasingly important role as an innovation driver.
2. Aims and strategies for NRW
North Rhine-Westphalia is Germany's top state for energy and, at the same time, one of its major locations for automobile production. About 700,000 cars and commercial vehicles are sold annually in the world market by producers from North Rhine-Westphalia. In addition to these, trailers, vehicle bodies, containers as well as vehicle components and accessories are also produced.
Given the existing power supply infrastructure in NRW, various players from industry, research and politics see medium-term solutions for marketing electromobility as an option. For NRW, this means, for example, that more new players will be involved in the mobility sector in future, developing new business models in areas such as leasing batteries, selling power and providing charging stations. The projects envisaged by various players include the production of new vehicles in NRW.
The North Rhine-Westphalia Electromobility Master Plan forms the underlying basis of all activities and it aims to rapidly establish the Rhine-Ruhr area as a pilot region for electromobility and then strengthen its position even further.
The state government’s central objectives regarding electromobility are:
- North Rhine-Westphalia to have at least 250,000 vehicles on the road using electric power units by 2020.
- To secure a significantly higher share of the electromobility market for North Rhine-Westphalia’s supply sector over the coming years.
- A further objective is to increase the current number of automobile manufacturers and suppliers located in the state. The aim is to exploit the opportunity for North Rhine-Westphalia created by the anticipated shift from a fuel-driven mobility market towards an electromobility market.
In the Rhine-Ruhr electromobility pilot region, a range of pilot projects are being launched to try out a host of applications in practice. North Rhine-Westphalia triumphed over 150 rivals in a competition related to these activities organised by the German Federal Ministry of Transport, qualifying as one of the 8 national pilot regions. A total of €115 million of central government funding is available for this nationwide electromobility initiative.
The initiative covers the whole spectrum of electromobility-related subjects:
- Vans / City logistics (Development of electric vans)
- Passenger vehicles (Market introductions, fleet trials, passenger vehicles with range extenders)
- Setting up infrastructure
- Buses / Public passenger transport (hybrid buses in scheduled services)
- Trucks / commercial vehicles (waste-collection vehicles)
- 2-wheeled vehicles (mobility - hybrid electric bicycles for short-distance urban transportation) and car sharing
Further proof of North Rhine-Westphalia’s commitment to electromobility is the state’s involvement in an Electromobility Funding Competition for which €60 million is being made available from the state’s own coffers and EU funds.
Battery-powered drives and fuel cells constitute two complementary key technologies for future mobility. Heavy goods transport will remain reliant on optimised diesel engines for some considerable time. Consequently, synthetic fuels, e.g. biomass-based fuels, also play an important role. NRW must therefore lend its support to relevant projects in all three of these areas.
The guiding principle of the NRW Fuel Strategy is energy efficiency:
- Clean fuels in conjunction with efficient drives, e.g. anything to liquid (XTL) fuels, 2nd & 3rd-generation biofuels, natural gas or biogas
- Electromobility (electric vehicles, plug-in hybrids, diesel hybrid solutions)
- Fuel cells / hydrogen
The state government is according highest priority to ensuring that market participants receive the necessary information. Consumer associations play a vital role here for example, by striving to relay information as comprehensively and in as much detail as possible. Therefore, holding events on the future of mobility represents a vital discussion platform for issues of mobility in tomorrow’s world. These events are crucial to giving consumers an overall insight into the wide range of different fuel and drive options available. Furthermore, showcasing options at events promotes public awareness of them – essential for their eventual success on the competitive market
3. Akteurslandschaft NRW
[Translate to English:] In Nordrhein-Westfalen gibt es mehr als 100 Akteure – von der Energiewirtschaft über die ansässigen Hersteller (Ford, Opel, Mercedes-Nutzfahrzeuge bis hin zu Nischenanbietern und Manufakturen), die mehr als 800 Zulieferer und Wissenschaftler u. a. an der RWTH Aachen, der Ruhr-Uni Bochum, der TU Dortmund, der Universitäten Duisburg /Essen und Münster.
Das mit der Erstellung des Masterplans beauftrage AutoCluster.NRW kommt insgesamt zu einer positiven Bewertung der Wettbewerbsfähigkeit des Standorts Nordrhein-Westfalen im Bereich der Elektromobilität. Dies gilt insbesondere für den Hochschulbereich und die Energieversorger.
Im Rahmen des Masterplans Elektromobilität in Nordrhein-Westfalen wurde die Kompetenzlandschaft in drei Bereichen Fahrzeugtechnik, Batterietechnik und Infrastruktur und Netze vom Autocluster.NRW ermittelt und dargestellt:
Detallierte Akteurslisten mit Links erhalten Sie durch Klick auf die Abbildungen bzw. die unten angegebenen Fachbeiträge.
4. Main areas of work and projects of the cluster
In the Rhine-Ruhr pilot region, a range of pilot projects are being launched to trial a host of different applications:
- Vans / City logistics: Development of vans, including working with Fordwerke AG, RheinEnergie, the City of Cologne and the University of Duisburg-Essen
- Market introduction of passenger vehicles, including fleet trials: this will feature the use of passenger vehicles with so-called range extenders, i.e. electric vehicles fitted with a battery and also a combustion engine, the latter functioning as a power generator rather than as a drive.
- Infrastructure: in collaboration with the major power supply companies in NRW, e.g. RWE AG, a network of electric charging stations is currently being created; new charging points are being hooked up to the network nearly every day.
- Buses / Public Passenger Transport: large-scale use of hybrid buses on regular service routes in a range of transport services, including in Düsseldorf, Hagen, Wuppertal, Dortmund, Krefeld, Bochum and Gelsenkirchen.
- Truck/commercial vehicle trials: also in Krefeld; refuse collection vehicles with hybrid drives are to be used.
- Finally, several state utilities and research institutions want to test electrically powered 2-wheel vehicles (150 vehicles in total) for everyday use.
A more detailed and structured presentation of the subject of electromobility and what it involves, featuring special contributions from the participating Clusters, is currently under preparation. This will take the form of a Knowledge Map. Please contact the coordinators if you wish to submit a contribution.