Posted on 03 January 2020

eCarTec 2013 Munich: Connecting Mobility Markets




The fifth international trade fair for electric and hybrid mobility eCarTec 2013 which took place from 15th to 17th October, 2013 in Munich, showed that the the electric mobility industry has almost crossed the valley of tears. Despite a difficult start at the beginning of 2013, the organizers of the trade show are satisfied with the exhibitor and visitor figures of this year's show. Mottoed "Connecting Mobility Markets!", it seems that the trade show is about to become the industry's international venue for electric mobility.

By Marisa Robles Consée, Corresponding Editor; Bodo's Power Systems

Covering 22,000 m² including the parallel trade show for Lightweight Design "Materialica", the scale of the event made it possible to show the complete spectrum of the electric mobility industry. 479 companies presented their products in the fields of electric vehicles, electronics, energy storage technology, energy and infrastructure as well as lightweight design and smart materials to more than 12,000 visitors. "The most significant outcome of eCarTec 2013 was the high quality of specialist visitors. We are very proud that most of visitors are professionals, in other words engineers, designers, design engineers, decision-makers from communities and local authorities and fleet managers", says Robert Metzger, CEO of MunichExpo Veranstaltungs GmbH and organiser of Materialica and eCarTec Munich, eCarTec Paris and eCarTec Beijing. "In the past five years, eCarTec has become the most important and largest platform for electric mobility. Industry experts value eCarTec mainly because it enables them to establish business relationships with decision makers and to keep themselves updated on the latest trends and innovations", explains Robert Metzger.

A special highlight at eCarTec Munich 2013 and Materialica 2013 were the presentations for the 'Materialica Design + Technology Awards 2013' and the 'eCarTec Awards 2013' as a Bavarian State Prize for electric mobility. Both sets of awards are traditionally presented on the first day of the trade fair as the highpoint of a festive award ceremony. Altogether, eight companies received the eCarTec Awards 2013 in the categories Electric Car (Volkswagen with e-up!), Electric Utility Vehicle (Brusa Elektronik with E-Force), Drive Technology/ System Electrics/Testing Systems (Webasto Thermo & Comfort SE with HVH), Storage Technology/System Integration (RWTH Aachen), Energy/Infrastructure/Connection Technology (Brusa Elektronik with ICS), Product Concept/Vision (Rinspeed with microMAX), and a special category for Sustainable Mobility Concept (Conductix- Wampfler with IPT-Charge).

Batteries in fast progress

Charging and recharging has to be possible without complications and hazards. Well-known battery systems are currently being feverishly improved and entirely new systems developed. Alterations are being made to the materials used for the surfaces and matrices of electrodes, the electrolytes, the separators and their production processes. This applies to tried and tested lead batteries, nickel-cadmium (NiCd) systems, nickel-zinc (NiZn) and nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) as well as the "Zebra" battery and a broad range of lithiumion (Li-Ion) batteries, among them recent developments such as lithium- titanate, lithium-iron phosphate and lithium-polymer batteries as well as newer developments such as the lithium-air battery.

"From a physical-chemical point of view, lithium systems offer unbeatable advantages. There is no way around them", affirms Dr. Dr. Reinhard Löser from the Advisory Council Bundesverband eMobilität e.V.. Li-ion systems stand for the highest energy densities (up to more than 160 Wh/kg), very high efficiencies, very high specific energy (1,800 W/kg), low self-discharge and with the appropriate cell management they are highly reliable. Their stability under load already exceeds 10,000 cycles. They are, of course, still comparatively expensive. If high power densities are needed (1,400 kW/kg), lithium-iron phosphate systems are the preferred choice (120 Wh/kg). "They boast rapid charging to 90% capacity in five minutes." When the lithium-metal oxide, the other electrodes and the electrolyte/separator are produced as sheets on polymer matrices, we speak of lithium- polymer systems which are easily formable and quite inexpensive.

Their specific energy is 3,000 W/kg, their energy density per volume reaches peak values (300 Wh/l), but measured by mass they are only mediocre (130 to 200 Wh/kg). Metal-air systems will determine future developments. Since one electrode is omitted (replaced by oxygen from the air), more weight can be cut out. The zinc-air battery already achieves energy densities three times greater than conventional lithium-ion batteries. These inexpensive and high-performance batteries are expected to hit the market in the next three to five years. But the lithium-air battery seems to be the most attractive. It achieves the highest energy density (more than 450 Wh/kg) and power density. That's why Reinhard Löser predicts: "The efficiencies achieved up to now of more than 80% give reason to hope that a market launch of the system, with the best performance although not the cheapest, will be successful in the next five to ten years. The price will drop further." In 2010, the price for lithium-ion batteries fell by two thirds to 300€/kWh. There will be more price reductions in the competition for the best solutions; new recycling processes will play their part, Löser is convinced: "But different types of batteries will always be deployed, depending on which factor is most important: energy content, energy density, power density, number of cycles, charging speed, environmental compatibility or safety - or price, in the same way as petrol, diesel and natural gas engines are in use today."

Winner: Compact Inductive Charging System

As mentioned before, Brusa ICS was the winner in the category Energy, Infrastructure, Connection Technology. Its compact inductive charging system (ICS) with integrated power electronics made the made it to the top. Brusa is renowned for its conductive chargers and has now developed an inductive charging system. It differs from familiar systems thanks in particular to its compact construction and will set new benchmarks in the area of induction charging.

Compact Inductive Charging System (ICS) from Brusa with integrated power electronics

The new system only comprises of a floor and vehicle plate - the required power electronics are already integrated. Current inductive charging systems encompass two current coils: a primary coil located on the floor or, for instance, embedded in the road, and a secondary coil on the underside of the vehicle. The primary side also includes a wall box containing the power electronics and which supplies the primary coil. On top of this, other functions are required such as for foreign object and living object detection. On the vehicle side, besides the secondary coil an additional module is also required containing a power control unit, AC/DC converter and other communication components.

Brusa has managed to integrate all the modules and functions into the coil housings which mean the ICS only comprises of two components: Besides space and cost savings, this brings additional benefits such as a vast improvement in electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) as there is no longer any need for metres of HF cabling between the wall box and primary coil. This also makes it really easy to install the floor plate in the end customer's garage as it can simply be connected to the home's fused power supply (230 V/16 A). What's more, as the entire floor plate weighs less than 20kg the end customer can also handle it with ease. Carmakers also benefit from much shorter production and vehicle-integration times as the OEM only has to install one component into the vehicle: the fully-integrated secondary unit.

The ICS has been developed for everyday use and incorporates various safety features such as foreign-object detection and living-object detection. The charging system activates automatically as soon as the vehicle is in the correct position, with the vehicle and floor plate communicating over the wireless LAN standard 802.11p. The floor plate also offers advanced connectivity via a PLC. The overall system is also impressive with a high efficiency level of approx. 92% making it just as efficient as conductive charging systems.

E-Force, an electric 18-tonne truck for regional and city goods distribution was the winner in the category Electric Vehicle: Commercial Vehicle. With the assistance of Lithiumstorage and Designwerk, the recently founded company E-Force One AG builds the electric truck and was able to acquire customers such as the brewery Feldschlösschen and the food retailer Coop which already have the first E-Force trucks in their fleets or will start soon. While the etruck may be about twice as expensive as a conventional truck, it pays for itself very quickly thanks to its extremely low running costs. Each new E-Force truck uses two Brusa electric motors, controllers and chargers as well as a DC converter.


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