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R&D funding provided by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy
The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy is providing funding for R&D on all aspects of electric mobility, including drive technology, battery research, standardisation, the value chain, grid integration, charging stations that use smart metering technology, and infrastructure.
Electrically Mobile (Elektro-Mobil): Joint funding initiative for electric mobility financed by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy and the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety
The deep-reaching shift in mobility and the automotive industry needs to be underpinned by the right industrial policy conditions and incentives. At the same time, new fields of action are emerging, such as handling the increased use of renewables and using fleets of electric vehicles to help stabilise the grid through the use of smart charging.
In order to meet ambitious climate goals and make sure the shift towards electric mobility really takes off, climate policy and industrial policy need to work together. This is why the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy and the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety have developed joint funding guidelines on research and development (R&D) in electric mobility. These guidelines are helping Germany to meet its climate and energy goals in the transport sector. The funding initiative focuses on R&D projects that leverage the potential of electric mobility for realising energy and climate policies, and that also strengthen the competitiveness of German industry.
In terms of industrial policy, the goal of this government funding is to fortify value chains in electric mobility. This involves intensifying existing cooperation in key industrial sectors and science and strengthening networking between the individual sectors. The R&D projects are designed to help reduce costs across electric mobility, to reduce hurdles in industrialising the new technology involved, to reduce purchasing barriers, and to commercially integrate electric mobility into the energy transition.
The joint funding guidelines issued by the Economic Affairs and Environment ministries serve to bundle the Renewably Mobile (Erneuerbar Mobil) and ELECTRIC POWER I+II (ELEKTRO POWER I+II) funding programmes that had previously been operated by each of the two ministries respectively and that terminated at the end of 2017.
Immediate Action Programme for Clean Air 2017-2020 – Economic Affairs Ministry undertakes charging infrastructure measure
As a further measure under the Immediate Action Programme, the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy is providing targeted support for towns and cities exceeding emissions ceilings by providing funding for electric mobility charging infrastructure. This involved launching a specific call for projects as part of the Elektro-Mobil initiative (in German), which was published on 4 January 2018.
The funding is provided for work to install charging infrastructure quickly in order to dismantle existing barriers to network expansion and develop low-cost charging infrastructure. The focus here is on creating charging facilities for vehicle owners that do not have these where they normally park, as well as for commercial use.
Funding is to be provided for projects dealing with at least one of the following areas:
Demonstration rooms (living labs) to explore and develop ways of reducing barriers to network expansion
Low-cost charging infrastructure
Charging infrastructure solutions incorporating smart management technology in areas not open to public access (depots, parking spaces provided by employers etc.)
Development of smart charging systems for private use (parking garages used by multi-dwelling buildings, public car parks).
ELECTRIC POWER II: Electric Mobility – Positioning the Value Chain
The Economic Affairs Ministry operates a funding programme called ELECTRIC POWER II: Electric Mobility – Positioning the Value Chain (ELEKTRO POWER II: Elektromobilität - Positionierung der Wertschöpfungskette), providing around €29 million to a current total of 13 research and development projects. These projects seek to advance Germany’s position in the international electric mobility market.
The funding programme is part of an extensive package of measures that the ministry is using to implement the goals set in the National Development Plan for Electric Mobility. A new funding focus has been placed on electric mobility as being a key component of a modern electricity market – the latter forming a core part of Germany’s energy transition. The programme also aims to reduce the overall costs of electric mobility, to break down purchasing barriers and to eliminate obstacles to industrial manufacturing: funded projects are intended to help strengthen value chains in electric mobility production, to further develop inductive charging systems in public areas, and to handle cross-cutting topics from the areas of standardisation and standards, legislation, and security and data protection.
The Economic Affairs Ministry is using this funding programme to network the automotive industry with the energy industry and the key sectors of electrical engineering and information and communication technology. The aim of the research and development work involved in the projects is to improve production processes in electric mobility value chains, to drive forward innovation in infrastructure, to create standards, and to reduce production costs. Expertise on Industrie 4.0 is also fed into this work. In this way, ELECTRIC POWER II creates incentives for researching how acceptance for electric mobility solutions – both on the provider and the user side – can be raised.
Projects supported by the Electric Power II funding programme:
BiLawE – the commercial use of bidirectional, inductive charging systems in the power grid
DELTA – data security and integrity for electric mobility charging, and billing in compliance with calibration law
eBusCS – Leveraging eMobility standardisation for the eBus charging system
EMO-STAR 2K – Promoting electric mobility through greater standardisation, coordination and by strengthening of public awareness
FlexJoin – process-safe systems and joining technology for flexible production of battery modules
POLICE – prolonged life cycle for electric vehicle (extended (initial) service life using vehicle concepts that can be updated)
PRO-E-Traktion – automated and robust production systems for electric traction drives
InnoDeLiBatt – innovative production technologies for the manufacture of lithium-ion battery storage units that can be dismantled
SmartBodySynergy – smart body-in-white components for boosting synergies from electric vehicles
LADEN 2020 – concept for building a charging infrastructure in Germany that meets demand, from now up to 2020
SD-SE – designing an interface between electricity and electric mobility systems, with a special focus on the provision and financing ofpublicly accessible charging infrastructure for electric mobility
IILSE – developing interoperability between inductive charging systems for electric cars
STILLE – standardising inductive charging systems via performance classes
The projects are managed by theDLR Project Management Agency (contact person: Dr Bernd Bauche).
The accompanying research and research into the programme’s impact is conducted under the lead responsibility of the Institute for Innovation and Technology in Berlin (contact person: Uwe Seidel) andTÜVRheinland Consulting GmbHin Cologne (contact person: Dr Sören Grawenhoff). Press contact: LoeschHundLiepold Kommunikation GmbH (contact person: Antje Schmieder).
Evaluation of the ELECTRIC POWER I funding initiative
The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy launched the ELECTRIC POWER I funding initiative (now expired) back in 2011. An independent evaluation into the initiative was conducted by a team of experts from the Institute for Innovation and Technology, who looked at how the funding initiative was implemented and the impact it had. A final report (in German) was published on 17 March 2017. In the report, the evaluation team concludes that the programme has been very successful, having simplified access for SMEs to the forward-looking electric mobility market and strengthened value chains across the industry in Germany. The projects funded also served to advance the development of key enabling technologies, ensuring further technological expertise was developed.
Standardisation – electric mobility based on universal standards
The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy is working to ensure that vehicles produced by different manufacturers can be charged at charging stations run by different operators. The objective here is to use smart charging infrastructure to link up the vehicle to the charging point, allowing for communication between the two. Based on what is set out in the government’s programme, the additional electricity needed for electric mobility is to come from renewables.
Charging plugs and sockets, and the communication between the vehicle and the charging station must be fully compatible. The only way of ensuring that users can comfortably recharge and pay for recharging their electric vehicles everywhere in Germany and beyond is to put international standards in place. Before this can work, communications standards need to be drawn up and precautions taken to ensure that high-voltage technology is handled safely. There are many examples of safety standards that were developed by consensus and which later found their way into statutory regulation, for example on vehicle safety.
Universal standards – not only for the charging infrastructure – will benefit companies in Europe and across the world. After all, the vehicles, charging stations, batteries, and the manufacturing equipment produced in Germany are being exported internationally.
Wherever necessary, the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy lends its support to the dialogue that takes place between German standardisation experts and their international partners. The ministry is engaged in close bilateral dialogue with ministries in the U.S., China, and many other countries.
In order to incorporate the positive effects of standardisation in the development process right from the start, the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy provides funding for a project focusing on the development of overarching coordination measures. By extension, the project, entitled EmoStar2k, is also intended to strengthen Germany’s leading role in the setting of international standards in electric mobility. The parties involved include the Deutsches Institut für Normung (DIN), the standardisation committee of the German automotive manufacturers (VDA-NAAutomobil) and the German Commission for Electrical, Electronic & Information Technologies in the DIN and VDE (German Unity Transport Projects). For more detailed information, please click here (in German).
Research for developing a network of rapid chargers
The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy intensively supports the efforts being made to create a network of rapid chargers and roll it out across Germany. In April 2014, private-sector companies and scientific institutions teamed up for a large-scale project called SLAM (German acronym for “network of fast chargers for motorway corridors and major cities”), which rolled out rapid chargers across Germany.
The SLAM research project investigated user behaviour and developed an operator and business model for rapid chargers. It also developed criteria for suitable locations and proposals for simple and uniform charging methods. The outcomes of this work were passed on to the SLAM partners as soon as they are available. This is important to ensure that this data can be used to determine the best-possible sites for fast chargers and to optimise the way in which they are being operated. Overall, a total of 287 rapid-charge stations were installed as part of SLAM (as of 1 March 2018). The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy provided funding of around €20.8 million for this research project.
SLAM partners concluded the project by writing a number of scientific reports which were completed before the start of 2019. To find out more, please visit www.slam-projekt.de (in German).
Electric drivelines – efficient and quiet at zero local emissions
The driveline is the heart of any motor vehicle. Making the move towards electric drivelines opens up new potential for motorised transport. Electric vehicles can be a game-changer – for instance, they offer individual mobility that is both more efficient and environmentally-friendlier than using a traditional car or two-wheeler would be. Buses and light commercial vehicles with an electric driveline can help bring down air pollutant emissions and noise levels in cities.
This is why on 13 October 2011 the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs launched the “ATEM” initiative (German acronym for “drive technologies for electric mobility”), which provided funding for the development of next-generation electric and hybrid vehicles with improved energy use and better economic viability. The initiative focused on further developing the entire powerchain, including optimising driving dynamics, energy efficiency, and improving the integration of and interaction between individual components. Through this, the aim was also to extend maximum range of the car and to considerably bolster safety.
Under ATEM, around €92.6 million went to fund around 30 projects involving 107 subprojects, with the Federal Government providing around €53.2 million of this.
Further information (in German) about projects assisted in this context can be found on the website of the project management agency commissioned by the Economic Affairs Ministry at the German Aerospace Center.
Batteries are the key component when it comes to electric drivelines. For batteries to be suitable for widespread mobile use, they need to become more powerful and durable, safer, and more cost-effective. At the same time, batteries can also play a part in helping to integrate renewables in our overall energy system.
This is why the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy also picks up upon this broad topic within the “Key energy industry elements of e-mobility” research focus under the Energy Research Programme. The idea behind the programme is to improve the performance and reliability of batteries by using better-suited materials and more advanced manufacturing methods. This will make batteries a fully-integrated component in vehicles’ energy management and thus well-suited for mobile applications. Ultimately, this will allow electric vehicles that are made in Germany to travel longer on a single battery charge as well as to stay safe even if the battery is being recharged many times.
Information and communication technologies for electric mobility II
Modern information and communication technologies (ICTs) control all the key functions in an electric vehicle and enable it to be integrated into a smart energy and transport system of the future. The funding focus “ICT for Electric Mobility” is therefore designed to help develop and test holistic, ICT-based solutions of this kind and to promote exemplary system solutions for electric mobility that integrate technologies, services and business models alike. The current, third round of funding – entitled “ICT for Electric Mobility III: Integrating commercial electric vehicles in logistics, energy and mobility infrastructures” – focuses on the commercial use of electric mobility.
The aim of the funding programme is to identify profitable applications of electric mobility for the commercial vehicles segment and help them achieve a breakthrough. The focus of the research work is on ICT in the field of vehicle technology, commercial fleet and logistics concepts, and charging, communications and platform technologies. This involves working on how to best integrate electric vehicles into smart energy and transport networks and developing autonomous vehicle and logistics applications. The 21 research projects (as of April 2018) are developing suitable technologies and services and are testing them in practice. The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy is providing a total of around €65 million in funding for “ICT for Electric Mobility III” between 2016 and 2020.
SMEs in the industrial sector
In recent years, SMEs have drastically stepped up their efforts on electric mobility and have been developing technology solutions for the challenges it presents.
The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy has deployed a Central Innovation Programme for SMEs, a technology-neutral initiative set up to foster innovation and competitiveness within German SMEs – including in the area of electric mobility.
Funding is also available for the development of electric mobility in the context of collaborative industrial research (in German). Its network brings together researchers and small and medium-sized firms in particular. They work together in various fields, including components of the electrical driveline, novel charging electronics, and the development of novel materials.
Germany Trade and Invest (GTAI) provides information on opportunities on foreign markets for electric mobility. The foreign trade fair programme launched by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy gives companies better opportunities to present their concepts for electric mobility outside Germany.