Mobile inductive charging project starts in Germany

In Balingen, dynamic wireless charging technology for electric vehicles is being tested in practice for the first time in Germany. The main actor in the pilot project is a shuttle bus for the Garden Show 2023, which will charge its vehicle battery while driving.

The Israeli company ElectReon, which specializes in the inductive charging of e-vehicles, will set up an Electric Road System (ERS) that is initially 400 meters long under the asphalt for the project, as well as two stationary inductive charging stations. In a later phase of the project, it is planned to extend the section of road that has been prepared accordingly to one kilometer. In addition to Electreon Germany, the project partners are EnBW, the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and Stadtwerke Balingen. The overall project is also under the leadership of the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and operates under the name ELINA (use of dynamic charging infrastructure in public transport).

The route of the shuttle bus to the garden show leads from the parking lot at the exhibition center to the Rathaus stop. According to EnBW, the dynamic charging process takes place in Wilhelmstraße. There, the magnetic coils are used under the roadway. “When the bus approaches this point, high-frequency magnetic fields are generated there. These induce an electric current in receiving coils on the floor of the bus, which is used to charge the battery,” says EnBW, describing the charging process.

Inductive stops are also planned at the Stadthalle and exhibition center terminus – but the bus charges there while stationary. In the second stage mentioned, the project managers then want to equip other routes in Heimlichenwasen and in front of the Lauwasen school with magnetic coils – and thus the Electric Road System at once extend kilometers. In addition, another inductive bus stop is to be set up in the bus depot, thereby expanding the project to include regular services.

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While ElectReon provides its Dynamic Wireless Power Transfer (DWPT) technology, KIT contributes a planning tool that optimally coordinates the route of the line and the locations of the charging stations. “The software combines traffic modelling, vehicle simulation and optimization of the charging infrastructure,” explains Markus Tesar from KIT. “Our goal as part of the ELINA project is to validate the new planning tool with data from real operation in Balingen.”

In the meantime, Stadtwerke Balingen is taking care of the operation of the electric bus and EnBW is managing the project and building and operating the charging infrastructure. “The project in Balingen shows how innovatively and consistently we are promoting e-mobility in Germany. We have a holistic approach and want to make wireless charging technically fit for German public transport. This also includes convincing authorities, energy network operators, bus operators and the general public of the possibilities,” emphasizes Alexander Pöllauer from EnBW’s research and development department, who is in charge of the test.

According to ElectReon, this is actually not the first pilot test of DWPT technology in Germany. The Balingen project follows a successful pilot project with Electreon technology in the city of Karlsruhe in cooperation with EnBW times.

ElectReon and the road construction company Eurovia are planning another project in Germany. Specifically, it is a project funded by the federal government called E|MPOWER. Launched in July 2022, this project aims to integrate ElectReon’s technology on a one-kilometer section of a motorway in northern Bavaria.

For now, however, the focus is on Balingen. As part of this project, Electreon claims to receive up to 3.2 million euros for its share of the project.

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With reports by Cora Werwitzke, France. (in German),