Users see electric mobility as an integrated offering. The NPE’s fields of activity reflect this perspective and include vehicle technologies, energy and the environment, urban planning, norms and standards, information and communication technologies and education and training. The interfaces between the topics are wide-ranging, with highly qualified experts developing innovative vehicle technologies, and information and communication technologies being used to produce customer-friendly payment models for charging. Through research and development, science and industry are creating the basis for an attractive offering. Ultimately, it’s the satisfaction of and acceptance by users that counts, and that’s why the NPE is promoting these topics.
No other automotive nation currently has a comparable range of models across all vehicle segments. The variety of options for users is continuing to grow:More than 30 models from German companies are already on the market and their number is growing. About 77,000 electric cars were registered in Germany since 2009 (as of December 2016).
Companies and research institutes are continuing to develop vehicle technologies. They are optimising the drive system, electric motor and power electronics and the interaction of all components in electric vehicles, thus making the vehicles more attractive, with increased efficiency and reduced costs.
One of the most important components is the battery, as it affects the range, performance, weight and cost of vehicles. The best performance today is delivered by lithium-ion batteries. Experts from companies are already working with scientists on the leap to the next battery generation. While maintaining consistently high safety standards, the aim is to double the energy density of batteries and halve costs. An 80 percent charge in 15 minutes is already possible. The recycling processes for batteries are being optimised further and the availability of raw materials is also being taken into account. In the past three years alone, over 600 million euros have been invested in developing battery systems.
Lightweight construction technologies are also optimising electric vehicle performance. All manufacturers are already harnessing lightweight construction, whether for bodywork, wheel rims or interiors. For example, carbon fibre composites are being used to cut the weight of vehicles, increase their range and improve load capacities and handling performance.
Research and development are the basis for the success of German manufacturers to date on the path towards leading supplier status. A variety of research projects will also be needed in the future. The Federal Government promotes research and development of electric mobility through different funding programmes and initiatives.
At its plant in Leipzig, BMW AG operates the world’s first large-scale series production facility for cars developed specifically as electric vehicles and the world’s first large-scale series production facility using carbon for the i3 and i8 models.