Hannover. Progress on the electric mobility front has been fairly sluggish over the years, but now there's a definite sense that things are really starting to move along. New charging stations are popping up everywhere, and more and more electric vehicles are hitting the roads, including in the local public transport sector. In an increasing number of cities, eBuses and all the other types of electric vehicles are providing a workable, clean escape route from the tyranny of unsustainably high NOx and fine particulate emissions.
When it comes to taking stock of these developments, the Energy show at HANNOVER MESSE has a key role to play. For many years, exhibitors have leveraged the show to impressive effect to demonstrate the various energy infrastructure and technology milestones achieved along the road to a new mobility that is based on renewable energy and is no longer tied to the internal combustion engine.
To be clear: achieving electric mobility requires much more than merely developing a new, climate-friendly drive technology and putting up a few charging stations. It calls for a radical reconfiguration of existing industry structures. This is the focus of the Energy show. "Visitors to the Energy halls at HANNOVER MESSE will gain first-hand insights into what infrastructures are needed for sustainable electric mobility and what solutions are already available," explained Benjamin Low, Global Director Energy at Deutsche Messe. "The show's Electric Transportation Systems display area focuses on the integration of electric mobility solutions into existing energy systems – a challenge that will involve major capital investment," he said.
These are challenges that are being embraced by many companies, in Germany and worldwide. ElringKlinger AG is one such company. "As a classic automotive subcontractor, we are in the midst of an exciting transformation process – as indeed is the entire automotive industry," said Peter Renz, one of the company's corporate communications managers. ElringKlinger is currently investing in two electrification solutions: batteries and fuel cells. Stefan Wolf, Chairman of the Management Board, on the strategy behind this: "These two types of technology – batteries and fuel cells – have their own characteristics and strengths, and they both have a part to play in our automotive future. They can also be used in tandem to get the best of both worlds." ElringKlinger has been manufacturing various lithium-ion battery components – such as cell contact systems and module connectors – at commercial scale for eight years. The company will be exhibiting at the Energy show.
The ABB technology group will also be at the Energy show – with a lineup of technical innovations that will significantly shorten EV charging times. ABB has developed a fast-charging station that can charge batteries in just a few minutes. There are currently over 6,000 ABB fast-charging stations in use worldwide, and the number is growing all the time. As well as charging, the stations support connected services for ultra-fast billing and payment. With these technologies, electric charging stations are now finally to electric cars what fuel pumps have long been to conventional vehicles: a quick 'pit stop'. In Germany, for example, ABB is currently installing some 200 of its charging stations at autobahn service centers operated by Autobahn Tank & Rast.
Another exhibitor, Siemens AG, is a global provider of integrated electric mobility infrastructure solutions. "Charging stations are key parts of our strategy for holistic electric mobility infrastructure solutions that incorporate grid integration and grid planning," explained Siemens communications manager Dr. Norbert Vierheilig. "Load management software and the integration of charging infrastructure into existing networks are key parts of this," he added.
The German state of Baden-Württemberg's agency for new mobility solutions, e-mobil BW AG, is organizing a showcase at Energy 2018. The work it does is doubtless typical of many players in Germany's electric mobility sector. "Visitor traffic at our displays at HANNOVER MESSE has been growing steadily since 2011. That's due mainly to our highly innovative exhibitors, but also to the supporting program that we co-organize for the Electric Transport Systems Forum, the free tours we offer for Baden-Württemberg students, and various other networking events," said e-mobil BW AG CEO Franz Loogen. "The innovative, tried and proven products offered by our exhibitors show that electric mobility has in any respects moved out of the lab and into classic industrial processes," said Loogen. "This is a key milestone in our ability to offer competitive automated and integrated eMobility solutions on the world market. Climate-friendly mobility is a technology whose time has come. What's needed now are bold, forward-looking decisions – decisions that support innovative products, cost-efficient cooperation projects in all areas, not just charging and transport infrastructure, and cutting-edge applied research."
The economics ministry of the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia is partnering with the state's energy policy and development agency EnergieAgentur.NRW to stage a joint showcase in Hall 27 at the Energy show. Themed "smart and innovative into the future", the NRW pavilion will feature 20 participating businesses and research institutions from the renewable energy, energy generation, energy storage, grid technology, energy efficiency and sustainable mobility sectors. In the fall of 2017, the North Rhine-Westphalia state government launched an immediate-action funding assistance program to promote the expansion of charging infrastructure for private homes, skilled trades workshops and companies.