After more than 1 million kilometers in two years – from May 2013 to June 2015 – the real-world trial of electric cars known as eMERGE has been completed. Those taking part in the project were private and business customers with 146 smart fortwo electric drive cars from Berlin, Potsdam, and North Rhine-Westphalia. Some of them set records: the lowest average energy consumption over one year was 10.4 kWh/100 km, while the longest range was 161 kilometres. The smart fortwo electric drive is certified with a consumption of 16.3 kWh/100 km and a range of 145 kilometres, according to the automaker.
The broad-based field trial within the framework of the eMERGE project has not only provided information on user behavior and e-car technology; it also studied intelligent charging systems for improving the utilization of the power supply as well as various pricing systems with regard to customer acceptance. Based on transport models, the project partners examined the need for a publicly available charging infrastructure. Within the project Daimler was responsible for collecting the driving and charging data required for evaluation of the field trial. Data such as charging time and charging frequency were collected anonymized and scientifically evaluated; there were also regular interviews with the participants, according to the automaker.
“The participants in the eMERGE research project have made a key contribution to the mobility of the future. With their assistance, we have scientifically investigated the real-world customer use of electric cars and thereby obtained valuable data to help us develop future electric cars”, says Harald Kröger, head of Development Electrics/Electronics & E-Drive Mercedes-Benz Cars. “Increasingly low-cost battery systems will enable us to offer our customers ever more attractive prices in future. However, we also advocate an attractive system of incentives capable of giving a quick boost to electric mobility. Daimler already offers the world’s most diverse fleet of electric and hybrid vehicles and is continuing to invest heavily in the development of alternative drive systems.”
Alongside the Mercedes-Benz plug-in hybrid initiative, which envisages a total of 10 models by 2017, the company said it is also planning further all-electric vehicles powered by either battery or fuel cell.
eMERGE will be directly followed by eMERGE2, which will see up to 200 cars being used in the model regions of Berlin/Potsdam, Stuttgart, Rhine-Ruhr, and Rhine-Main. The vehicle fleet will be made up of the battery electric B 250 e and plug-in hybrids from Mercedes-Benz. The different technology and vehicle segments suggest different reasons for use than in the case of the smart fortwo electric drive. The inclusion of plug-in hybrids allows the project partners to study the usage patterns of a further group of customers and to compare them with those of customers with all-electric vehicles. In this way, the findings from real-world customer use in eMERGE2 can, in turn, be pooled with other empirical data – such as from endurance trials – and be incorporated into the development of electric drivetrains and systems.