Daimler reports that the two-year eMERGE real-world trial of 146 smart fortwo electric drive vehicles has been completed. Those taking part in the project were private and business customers in Berlin, Potsdam and North Rhine-Westphalia. The lowest average energy consumption per vehicle over one year was 10.4 kWh/100 km, while the longest single-charge range was 161 kilometers (100 miles). The smart fortwo electric drive is certified with a consumption of 16.3 kWh/100 km and a range of 145 kilometers (90 miles).
eMERGE is being followed directly by eMERGE2, which will see up to 200 cars being used in the model regions of Berlin/Potsdam, Stuttgart, Rhine-Ruhr and Rhine-Main. The vehicle fleet will include the battery electric B 250 e and plug-in hybrids from Mercedes-Benz. The different technology and vehicle segments suggest different use cases than the smart fortwo electric drive.
The inclusion of plug-in hybrids allows the project partners to study the usage patterns of a further group of customers and to compare them with those of customers with all-electric vehicles. In this way, the findings from real-world customer use in eMERGE2 can, in turn, be pooled with other empirical data—such as from endurance trials—and be incorporated into the development of electric drivetrains and systems.
eMERGE. Derived from “Electric Mobility Model Regions”, eMERGE evaluated usage, charging and marketing models of electric mobility based on real customer data from the Rhine-Ruhr and Berlin regions. eMERGE had seven cooperation partners: Daimler AG; Fraunhofer Institute for Open Communication Systems (FOKUS); PTV AG; RWE Effizienz GmbH; RWTH Aachen University (Chair of Management Accounting); TU Berlin (Faculty of Economic and Infrastructure Policy/WIP); and the University of Siegen (Chair of Marketing). eMERGE was sponsored by the German Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI) within the framework of Electric Mobility Model Regions.
The broad-based field trial within the framework of the eMERGE project provided information on user behavior and e-car technology and also studied intelligent charging systems for improving the utilization of the power supply as well as various pricing systems with regard to customer acceptance.
Based on transport models, the project partners examined the need for a publicly available charging infrastructure. Within the project Daimler was responsible for collecting the driving and charging data required for evaluation of the field trial. Data such as charging time and charging frequency were collected anonymized and scientifically evaluated; there were also regular interviews with the participants.
The participants in the eMERGE research project have made a key contribution to the mobility of the future. With their assistance, we have scientifically investigated the real-world customer use of electric cars and thereby obtained valuable data to help us develop future electric cars.
Increasingly low-cost battery systems will enable us to offer our customers ever more attractive prices in future. However, we also advocate an attractive system of incentives capable of giving a quick boost to electric mobility. Daimler already offers the world's most diverse fleet of electric and hybrid vehicles and is continuing to invest heavily in the development of alternative drive systems.—Harald Kröger, Head of Development Electrics/Electronics & E-Drive Mercedes-Benz Cars
Alongside the Mercedes-Benz plug-in hybrid initiative, which envisages a total of ten models by 2017, the company is also planning further all-electric vehicles powered by either battery or fuel cell.
eMERGE study. Among the findings of the eMERGE analysis were:
The typical supporter of electric mobility is educated and tech-savvy with an above-average income.
The less an interviewee knew about electric mobility, the more negative was his or her opinion or electromobility.
Purchase price is a key criterion for or against an electric car; on the other hand, interviewees were often unaware of consumption savings.
The ideal target group in the study were commuters who drove a daily distance of 50 kilometers (31 miles) or more, because this then makes the purchase of an electric car financially attractive owing to the low operating and maintenance costs.
The interviewees also attached very great importance to range, performance, space and charging time.
The study found that the decision in favor of an electric car was down mainly to reasons of image, whereas personal environmental awareness was of minor importance. On the other hand, it found that the purchase decision was very positively influenced by access to a public charging infrastructure.
Based on driving and charging profiles of potential users, around a quarter of the charging infrastructure is likely to be required in public places, with more than half being needed in semi-public locations such as shopping centers or leisure facilities.
Night-time charging demand is what determines the overall demand for infrastructure, because there is generally only one night-time charge per charging point, whereas several charges are possible during the daytime.
A further focus of the research was to test out Plug&Charge among participants with their own photovoltaic system. Plug&Charge means that charging starts automatically without the need for additional identification. An RWE wallbox allowed intelligent charging to be further developed. eMERGE participants were able to adapt their charging strategy, such as charging their smart fortwo electric drive exactly when sufficient power was available from renewable energy sources. In this case from their own solar system. This enables users to charge in a convenient, intelligent and environmentally aware manner.