Infrastructure requirements and charging behaviour:
“Urcharge” project examines crucial questions about the viability of e-mobility for everyday use
The next five months will be an exciting experience for the residents of 51 of the 106 residential units in a complex in Kleinmünchen 3 miles from the center of Linz: During this period, they will swap their fuel cars for a fully electric car. This is made possible by the “Urcharge”* research project, i.e. “Urban Charging”, which is being headed by the TU Wien (Viennna University of Technology).
Within the framework of this project, LINZ AG, as the project initiator, is conducting a demonstration project together with KEBA AG, the manufacturer of e-mobility charging solutions, and ETA (environmental management consulting) as well as the Linz housing cooperative NEUE HEIMAT OÖ. This is one of the largest and longest electric mobility field tests in Austria. It will provide answers to fundamental questions about what infrastructure and charging behaviour is needed in order to make e-mobility a decisive environmental protection factor in urban areas, even for densely populated areas.
* The project is funded by the Climate and Energy Fund and is being carried out within the framework of the “Zero Emission Mobility” program.
Infrastructure requirements will be identified
E-mobility plays a major role throughout Austria in achieving the national climate targets. For example, a quota of about 27 percent of all registered passenger cars is an important sub-goal in the climate plan up to 2030. But what charging infrastructure is necessary in a city like Linz to support the increase in the share of e-mobility? Will the power grid be able to withstand this additional load? The demonstration project will answer these kinds of questions. This is the practice-oriented part of the “Urcharge” research project.
Electric car share of 50 percent will be simulated
The demonstration project even goes one step further than the climate targets set for 2030: In a residential complex of NEUE HEIMAT OÖ on the Theresia-Brandl-Weg, almost 50 percent of the residents (26 terraced houses and 5 apartment buildings) are switching to electric cars. Their parking spaces – divided between two underground car parks – have been equipped with the LINZ AG charging solution “WallBOX CitySolution“, which is implemented with KEBA power charging stations that are manufactured in Linz.
Thanks to a charging capacity of up to 11 kW (kilowatts), the electric cars, which are provided by the Sonnleitner car dealership at low cost, can be fully charged in the underground car park whilst not in use. This will provide important insights into the charging behaviour of the users. One of the central questions is at what times the residents charge the e-car and which simultaneities occur here.
Cost-effective energy management that reduces the load on the grid
The grid load will be tested and optimised during the five-month project phase in order to cost-effectively provide users with the necessary energy at the right time without overloading the grid, even with many simultaneous charging sessions, using the intelligent load management solution developed by KEBA. Charging at the charging station in the underground car park will be free of charge for the duration of the project. Should the e-car newcomers be interested after the demo phase, they can purchase their e-vehicles at residual value after this unique project.
Optimised charging solution for housing complexes
The infrastructural basis for the demonstration project is provided by the “WallBOX CitySolution”, a complete charging solution from LINZ AG especially for residential complexes. “This inexpensive and intelligent charging solution is specially designed for large-volume residential buildings. Residential property developers can equip their new buildings and usually also their existing properties with this e-mobility solution. With this demo project, we want to maximise the current possibilities and further develop our complete solution,” says Gerald Mayrhofer from the e-mobility team at LINZ AG. If a basic infrastructure is available, the “WallBOX CitySolution” can be installed quickly and guarantees reliable and exclusive charging. It is fed 100 percent with electricity from the region and can be used in garages and open spaces.
A crucial component is the wall box. The Austrian wall box pioneer KEBA AG is primarily responsible for the research, development and production of the wall boxes – which is also based in Linz. KEBA looks back on more than 10 years of experience in the industry and is one of the world market leaders in the area of intelligent charging stations. Within the framework of the demonstration project, the wall box and the intelligent charging and load management solution will be further developed in order to set the course for a high market penetration of e-mobility in urban areas.
A strong project team
“As project leader and research partner, we value the ‘Urcharge’ project because of its holistic nature, which is unique in the field of charging infrastructure for large residential buildings in urban areas. A demonstration phase of almost half a year with 51 participants is extremely valuable for establishing the real charging behaviour and for the verification of our research results in the model. These findings will flow into a concept for private, urban charging in order to promote convenience, affordability and thus the acceptance of e-mobility and to achieve Zero Emission Mobility in individual traffic”, says Jasmine Ramsebner MSc, who is in charge of the project as research associate and project manager at the Vienna University of Technology.
“LINZ AG already very successfully offers charging solutions and products for the needs in public spaces, multi-storey residential buildings, homes and businesses. We are very optimistic that the demonstration project will provide us with decisive insights into the suitability of e-mobility for everyday use and that we will be able to make an important contribution to more sustainability in road traffic. LINZ AG is thus once again underlining its commitment to emission-free drives, as it has done with its modern bus fleet and the innovative ‘tim’ mobility service,” says LINZ AG General Director DI Erich Haider, MBA.
“Above all, charging stations must be convenient for the user, reliable and safe. In large residential complexes, where typically several electric cars are charged simultaneously, an intelligent load management solution is implemented. It optimally distributes the charging power so that the electric cars can be charged with a correspondingly low grid load and costs. In other words, our charging station not only charges, but is also a highly intelligent communication and control centre between the electric cars and the power grid behind them. With this solution, KEBA is once again taking on a pioneering role and thus making an important contribution to the breakthrough of electric mobility”, says Ing. Mag. Gerhard Luftensteiner, Chairman of the Management Board of KEBA AG.
Robert Oberleitner, Managing Director of NEUE HEIMAT OÖ: “The ‘Urcharge’ project gives us the opportunity to make a significant contribution to climate change and to actively participate in ensuring that the non-profit housing developers are fit for the future in the area of e-mobility. In the course of the project, we will gain experience that will help us to meet the requirements of our customers in the future and to continue to offer the high quality of living they are accustomed to.”
Max and Wolfgang Sonnleitner, Managing Directors of the Sonnleitner car dealership: “A project like this is the perfect opportunity for us to demonstrate the everyday practicality of our Renault Zoe and Nissan Leaf electric vehicles. It offers the ability to compare different applications in comparable environments over a longer period of time. Being able to do all this right on our doorstep is simply ideal. We’re happy to be part of it.”
Further information on the project partners