From 2025, only taxis with emission-free powertrains will be allowed in Austria. There, people are slowly switching to electric taxis. The charging infrastructure in Vienna and Graz has therefore been massively expanded in recent years. For example, in Vienna and the surrounding area, Wien Energie, Austria’s largest energy supplier, already operates more than 1,900 public and semi-public charging stations.
However, in order for these taxis to run cost-effectively, interruptions in the form of trips to charging stations must be avoided. That is why people in Vienna and Graz are investigating the possibility of automated, wireless charging at the taxi ranks. As part of the “eTaxi Austria” project, a total of 10 taxi ranks and 66 vehicles in Vienna and Graz will be equipped with the necessary technology over the next two years.
The implementation of wireless charging infrastructure offers quite a few advantages. No need for bulky charging stations and cables. The charging infrastructure can therefore be rolled out in densely built-up areas without requiring extra space. In addition, the project allows year-round comfort for drivers and customers. This allows the cooling and heating of the vehicles to remain active without reducing the range. It is also easy to drive up and down the taxi rank without the use of a cable. The simple charging process and the avoidance of unprofitable journeys to charging stations increase driver acceptance, paving the way for further electrification of the taxi fleets.
Zero Emission Mobility Implementation
The project is funded by the Climate and Energy Fund as part of the Zero Emission Mobility Implementation program. It will run until mid-2024 and should serve as the basis for further mobility transformations. “With our funding program, we want to promote long-term approaches. The e-Taxi project is pioneering work. It offers a promising way to make a significant contribution to climate neutrality. With the participation of Vienna and Graz, we are very pleased to be able to join Austria’s two largest cities.” on board as model cities. We are very excited about the execution of this project!” says Theresia Vogel, general manager of the climate and energy fund.
The Matrix Charging charging technology was chosen for the project. This is a technology developed by Easelink for the automated wireless charging of electric vehicles. Instead of charging an electric car in the usual way with a charging cable, these vehicles are equipped with a connector at the bottom. It can be connected to a charging plate at the taxi rank at the push of a button. In this way, electric taxis can be charged automatically without the driver having to leave the vehicle.
Hermann Stockinger, Founder and CEO of Easelink: “The vehicle manufacturer-independent technology of Matrix Charging can already be built into most electric vehicles on the market today. The charging pads installed in the parking lot are robust and maintenance-free and can be installed both in public areas and in private garages”.
It is the largest project to date for automated charging at taxi ranks in the world. In addition, it is also the first project to use a new, highly efficient charging technology. The Matrix Charging technology supports wireless charging up to 22 kW AC and 100 kW DC at 800 volts. In the pilot in Vienna and Graz, the two vehicle types used in the project, the Volkswagen ID.4 and the Hyundai Ioniq 5, will support charging with 11 kW AC.
Robust charging technology
Paul Gredler Oxenbauer, Group Manager Charging Solutions Wien Energie GmbH: “For the electrification of taxi fleets, the automation of on-site charging is crucial. This can only be achieved with robust charging technology that can be installed flat and thus barrier-free in the roads. Matrix Charging meets these requirements and offers high efficiency due to the conductive connection. The decentralized design of the charging infrastructure and a high connection time of the vehicles with the charging points allow integration into the network of the urban electricity grid.”
The Matrix Charging technology was recently showcased in a new electric vehicle platform from supplier Schaeffler at the IAA Mobility 2021 in Munich. Because Easelink will be collaborating with leading suppliers and car manufacturers, the Matrix Charging technology will soon be rolled out worldwide and put into series production.
Photo 1: © EaseLink/ALT/SHIFT
Photo 2 and 3: © Wien Energie/FOTObyHOFER/Christian Hofer