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Germany's mobility revolution is moving at pace, with electric vehicle infrastructure growing and new service models and battery technologies being developed.
May 26, 2023
Electric vehicle charging infrastructure progressed at pace in 2022, with the number of public charging points growing 35 percent to more than 80,500. Installed charging capacity recorded a more than 40 percent increase to almost 2.5 GW – capable of serving up to 2.5 million electric vehicles – according to the German Association of Energy and Water Industries (BDEW) industry association. Average charging point capacity has also grown from around 20 kW to 30 kW during the past five years, meaning that electric cars can be charged faster and more supplied every day. Germany aims to have 15 million electric passenger vehicles on the road by 2030.
The first construction phase of the Fraunhofer Research Institution for Battery Cell Production (FFB) in Münster was recently completed. Fraunhofer FFB is now building a sample line for complete battery cell production on a small scale, with an additional 20,000 sqm research and production space to be added. The project, which will see battery cells in the gigawatt range developed and produced for research purposes, represents one of the largest R&D construction projects currently underway in Germany and is the only one if its kind worldwide.
Deutsche Bahn (DB) is planning to deploy the first fully autonomous e-shuttles in Germany from May. The driverless on-demand shuttles will be used for public transport purposes in Darmstadt city center as part of a first step in the project that has been two years in the planning. Six additional vehicles will be sited in the city, with eight shuttles located in Offenbach. The project is being led by DB, the Rhein-Main-Verkehrsverbund RMV and local partners Heag Mobilo and the Kreisverkehrsgesellschaft Offenbach. According to DB, the project is a milestone in local transport and a major opportunity to advance the mobility revolution in rural regions. The project, two years in the planning, has received EUR 4 million in funding from Germany’s transport ministry.
A Dresden-based start-up recently secured EUR 1.2 million pre-seed financing for its innovative e-fuel technology. Refuel Green’s NextGEn-PtX Reactor Unit allows the cost-effective production of carbon neutral e-fuels. According to the Dresden start-up, the plasmacatalysis technologies deployed allow e-fuel costs to be reduced from around EUR 2.50 per liter to EUR 1.0 per liter. The company’s prototype is expected to produce the first e-fuel in a European refinery as early as this year.
An operator consortium based around Bremen space company OHB has announced plans to begin operating a satellite spaceport in the North Sea later in the year. The selected site is around 400 kilometers off the coast – to avoid offshore wind farms and flight paths – and allow the desired orbits to be reached. A special ship with a satellite launch pad will shuttle between Bremerhaven and the site. The planned spaceport will be constructed in Bremerhaven, from which the rocket will be equipped with satellites before beginning their journey to the open sea.
A Shanghai-based global tech start-up that develops and manufactures electric flying machines for passenger transportation has opened its European headquarters in Augsburg. AutoFlight focuses on new technologies including AI, highly automated flying, 5G, and innovative materials for the electric Vertical Take-Off and Landing (eVTOL) aircraft sector. A research and development center is being set up at the Augsburg site with a focus on the certification of the “Prosperity I” air taxi with the European Aviation Safety Agency. The Bavarian facility will allow the Chinese start-up to establish a technology cluster with partners, service providers and suppliers. Invest in Bavaria supported the company.
A US supplier of products that power, protect and connect electronic circuits has secured a minority stake in innoelectric AG to forge a strategic electric vehicle (EV) alliance between the two companies. As part of the investment, Bel Fuse has normal minority protection rights and the option to further expand its one-third ownership stake upon the achievement of key milestones. In other news, Innoelectric AG will establish its new headquarters being built as part of a new “Innocampus” at the site of a former Opel plant in Bochum-Laer. The two companies plan to focus on electric vehicle power electronics and next-generation fast-charging technology.