In this part of the expert interviews series we spoke to Mr. DI Heimo Aichmaier, Managing Director of Austrian Mobile Power.
Austrian Mobile Power unites top representatives from the areas of vehicle technology, system providers, energy suppliers, user technologies and the interest representation of the Austrian electromobility sector.
What do you mean by electromobility?
Electromobility combines the transport and energy system and consists of three pillars: user and application services, vehicles and infrastructure. Marketable and needs-oriented offers for the users are decisive for the success of the electromobility. Electric vehicles include single- and two-lane, semi-electric and full electric vehicles with a variety of drives, such as hybrid vehicles, vehicles with range extender technology and pure battery vehicles for various applications in mopeds, bicycles, motorcycles, cars, delivery trucks, trucks, buses and roads railways and railways. In addition to the vehicles, an appropriate infrastructure is necessary for loading and identification, authorization and billing. Intermodal travel from A to B is understood by means of different modes of transport.
How do you assess the status of electromobility in Austria and internationally?
Electromobility is a topic that has gained in importance internationally in recent years and is currently in the phase of intensive product development work and the beginning of the market boom. Asia, North America and Europe are important test markets.
First products from small series are available, serial production is currently being developed worldwide for vehicles and their components. On Austria's roads, around 1,300 battery vehicles and more than 6,000 hybrid vehicles are currently approved. In other European countries a similar market penetration is found as in Austria.
Austria is a country that is predestined for electric mobility in Europe, as the domestic electricity mix, with a share of more than 69%, consists of renewable energies. This advantage is to be exploited and to invest more intensively in research, development and production in order to establish future-oriented technologies and products from Austria on the world market.
Where do you see the Austrian electromobility industry in an international comparison?
Austrian companies in the field of vehicle, energy and system technology, develop and produce components, components and systems that are used worldwide. Automotive engineering, electrical engineering, control engineering, battery assembly and management as well as material and material technology are elements of electromobility, where domestic companies are leaders. The markets for these technology areas are predominantly located abroad, but the Heimmarkt is a major motor. The number of electric vehicles on Austrian roads is therefore primarily decisive for securing the location and jobs, but the international success of domestic research, industry and industry.
In Austrian Mobile Power, a cross-section of the lead industries in the field of electromobility is to be found. These include, for example, the control and control technology (Siemens AG, Fronius GmbH), semiconductor technology (Infineon AG), charging columns / charging systems (ABB, Schrack, Hager, Siemens AG), automotive engineering and production (KTM, AVL List, Magna) or research (A1 Telekom, Raiffeisen Leasing, REWE, Beko), as well as energy suppliers (EVN, Wien Energie, Verbund, TIWAG, Kelag, Linz AG) and development (AIT Austrian Institute of Technology). Due to the know-how of the companies addressed in the leading industries, jobs in Austria can be secured or extended in the future.
How do you think electromobility will develop in the future?
In the future, the issue of interoperability and intermodality will play an important role. Say the user-independent usability of mobility or loading facilities. But also the uncomplicated switching between different means of transport as well as the combination between car and public transport become more attractive by e-mobility.
Electromobility also requires consideration of the existing and future energy systems, since the origin, distribution, storage and delivery (including billing) of the necessary energy are relevant points of the electromobility in order to load electrical storage according to requirements.
There will, however, be many technical solutions for electric vehicles, all of which have in common an electrified drive, but will offer different combinations of on-board energy storage (battery, liquid or gaseous fuels, hydrogen, etc.). This requires many new developments that will contribute to increasing efficiency in vehicles.
In the future, it will be more important that developments on the vehicle side coincide with infrastructure developments and investments. This can not only be achieved through standardization and standardization, but new strategic alliances that will play an important role in the future.
Where will you be able to recharge your electric vehicle in the future?
It is becoming increasingly clear that more than 90% of the loading operations will take place in places that are not public or not open to the public, in other words at the place of residence, at the workplace and at the parking lot of companies. As a result, little charging infrastructure will be needed in public areas, but these contribute to the development of consciousness and later to changes in mobility behavior.
The installation of charging points must therefore be precisely planned and adapted to the changing customer requirements. Frequent traffic points are to be identified, for example, garages and park & ride facilities. Public support for the development of intelligent charging infrastructure by the public authorities is initially welcomed, provided that these criteria ensure interoperability and interoperability, otherwise this would result in a lack of investment at the expense of taxpayers.
How long will the charging take longer?
Generally, there are three options to perform the charging process: the normal charge, the semi-fast charging and the quick charging. As a compromise between battery life and charging time, but also the energy networks, in particular, semi-fast charging stations will be introduced from the current perspective. There will also have to be rapid loading stations, simply because of the mobility needs of the people.
What are the biggest challenges in the implementation of electromobility in Austria?
In the future, it will be important to create an intelligent incentive system in which direct and indirect policy instruments are strengthened. Austria needs a combination of transport, energy, location and environmental policy measures to drive electromobility. These must be intertwined, can not compete with each other or act as a watering can.
It is important to stimulate demand in order to achieve economies of scale and thus more favorable prices. Electric bicycles were successfully supported and established on the market. Similar incentives will also be needed at the right time for two-lane vehicles, but more application-specific.
For Austria it is particularly important to invest in research and technology development so that components from Austria on the world market continue to be regarded as high-quality top products. The more products - such as vehicles and system solutions - are sold world-wide in which value added from Austria is contained, the better for Austria as a whole.
In order to increase the awareness of electromobility at the end-user, increased, target-group-oriented communication is required, which corresponds to the state of the market. It is important to communicate what products will be available at what price and when.
What legal requirements would the implementation of electromobility in Austria force?
In the summer of 2012, the Federal Government adopted the implementation plan for electromobility, which includes, among other things, the commitment to an intelligent incentive system. An incentive system of this kind must place subsidies and legal framework conditions into a working relationship. Austria needs a more detailed research, promotion and implementation roadmap. General conditions must be created in such a way that products from the electromobility sector are in demand on the market. One possibility for increasing the use of electric vehicles is, for example, the use in fleets. On the policy front, appropriate approaches have to be set up in a joint and coordinated manner so that fleets will in the future consist of vehicles which are as environmentally friendly as possible.
What is the role of grid expansion for electromobility?
The energy networks of the future will become more intelligent (keyword smart grids). The transmission, distribution, control and regulation of flows requires new management solutions due to renewable sources of energy or alternative storage, such as by electric vehicles. In the short term, grid expansion is hardly relevant to electric mobility, in the long term. Furthermore, there are sufficient renewable energy sources in the existing expansion plans to cover the forecast demand for clean electricity for electric mobility, so that short-term and medium-term bottlenecks do not result in the supply of renewable energy. There is a need for action for network operators and energy supply companies in the field of charging points, on the one hand with regard to the construction, network integration and management, and on the other hand with regard to authorization and billing.
How intensive is research on this subject in Austria?
Since electromobility on the one hand has technological and on the other also also behavior-related components is researched in different areas. In social science research and traffic planning topics such as user behavior, traffic avoidance (reduction of empty runs etc.) or the development of attractive offers for intermodal transport concepts are at the forefront. Technical research and development is focussed on drive technology, vehicle construction, automotive technology, control and control technology and energy storage.
Much of the development work is carried out in companies, but also in universities and in the non-university sector. The research landscape in the field of electromobility is characterized by intensive cooperation between companies and universities / non-university research institutions.
What innovations can be expected in the next few years in the field of electromobility?
The gradual development of existing products will be available in all areas of electromobility. In addition, it is to be expected that completely new business models will arise that make the user easily accessible to mobility and energy at the right time in the right place. In the area of billing and authentication, developments will take place. From a technical point of view, new vehicle models and types will be introduced to the market in order to satisfy customer requirements. The innovation drivers in Austria are both SMEs and large companies.
What are the challenges for the future of Austrian Mobile Power in Austria?
The Austrian Mobile Power expects that electromobility will be established on the market and that more useful offers will emerge. The framework conditions must be geared to this market penetration, so that demand is generated in the near future. Most important is a long-term commitment and consistent action to implement the measures (research, promotion, demand generation) presented in the implementation plan for electromobility.
DI Heimo Aichmaier
bis 2009: Nationaler Experte am Office für Science and Technology in Washington D.C. (zuständig für den Informationsaustausch zur Elektromobilität zwischen Österreich und den USA)
bis 2012: Koordinator der Elektromobilität im Bundesministerium für Verkehr, Innovation und Technologie
seit 2012: Geschäftsführer der Austrian Mobile