Fit2Load: Smart charging for electric vehicles

Commercial journeys are particularly suitable for using electric vehicles because they can be planned and the distances travelled are short. However, changing the company fleet over to electric vehicles is often hampered by the question of how the vehicle fleet can be charged in an ecological and economic way. This is where the “Fit2Load” project comes in, offering a practical solution and promoting the expansion of electric vehicle fleets: a specially designed loading management system is intended to help control processes in a smart way, avoid overloading the connection to the grid and maximise the use of green electricity.

Although interest in electromobility is already widespread, many companies shy away from the step of converting their vehicle fleet to electrically-operated models. The reasons for this reluctance often lie in uncertainty about areas which need to be considered when making the change-over. Above all, the energy infrastructure, under which only a limited power output of the electrical connection is permitted, deters many fleet operators. On the “Fit2Load” project, the Faculty of Engineering and Mathematics at Bielefeld University of Applied Sciences is therefore working with the charging station manufacturer, Westaflex GmbH, and the building and energy management specialists, Archimedes Technik GmbH, to develop an integrated electromobility concept which supports companies in the change-over and allows them to operate a commercial fleet of electric vehicles in a smart and eco-friendly way with the help of a special charging management system.

Engine for progress:

  • Maximises the use of green electricity for electric vehicle fleets
  • Smart charging management for the mains transfer point
  • Contributes to optimising the use of the electricity distribution network and to the energy transition

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Photo: FH Bielefeld

The project partners present their concept at the inaugural event (left to right: Prof. Jens Haubrock (Bielefeld University of Applied Sciences), Dr Peter Westerbarkey (Westaflex), Stefanie Balzarek (Archimedes Technik), Stefan Lechtermann (Lechtermann Pollmeier Bakery).

From procurement to operation

As a building block, the project partners developed a tool which enables companies to access comprehensive information about the respective options and requirements for changing their fleet over and for operating the electric vehicles. The information provided ranges from buying suitable vehicles and implementing the corresponding charging infrastructure right up to purchasing electricity from renewable energy sources. Alongside accurate knowledge of the journeys that need to be undertaken on a daily basis, the high charging capacity required represents a significant challenge. Although many companies already have a well-developed energy infrastructure, there is a danger that the tremendous power requirement needed to charge a large number of electric vehicles at the same time could overload the grid connection or even the distribution network. Furthermore, alongside the cost of the energy consumed, companies also have to pay for provision of the maximum capacity required. They therefore frequently tend to keep the reference performance as low as possible. At the same time, however, it is increasingly often seen, that the number of company-owned electricity generation plants such as photovoltaic systems (PV) is on the increase and green electricity is therefore available for charging vehicles. This is where the Fit2Load project comes in.

Flexible charging management

In order to reduce the costs of using electric fleets and at the same time increase the climate change mitigation effect, the deputy spokesman of the research programme for intelligent technical energy systems (ites) Prof. Jens Haubrock and his team are developing their own charging management system, which aims to reduce the peak load of simultaneous charging processes and to maximise the use of green electricity. With the help of the system, the user also has the option of specifying the charging current of each vehicle in the fleet in a customised and prioritised way. The respective charging capacity is aligned with the current production of green electricity from the company’s own PV system. Not only does this mean that the use of company-generated green electricity is increased, but the prospective heavy burden on the grid caused by charging electric vehicles is counteracted.

A concept offering a great deal of potential

The electromobility concept is being piloted at a large-scale bakery in Bielefeld. It is planned to change a total of six commercial vans that are used for daily deliveries to 35 branches over to electric-powered vehicles and charge them primarily via the company’s own PV system. Here alone, this is expected to achieve a reduction of up to 86 per cent in the CO2 emissions caused by the company’s delivery vehicles in the long term. Following the field trial, it is hoped that other companies will be won over to the idea, boosting the potential for further climate protection.

Photo: Prof. Jens Haubrock, FH Bielefeld

“Through the smart networking of charging stations and renewable energy providers, electromobility can make a key contribution to the stability of the electric power grid.”

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Jens Haubrock, Project Manager, Bielefeld University of Applied Sciences

Partners and sponsors

  • Archimedes Technik GmbH
  • Fachhochschule Bielefeld, Forschungsschwerpunkt ites
  • Lechtermann‐Pollmeier Bäckereien GmbH & Co. KG
  • Westaflexwerk GmbH
  • Ministerium für Klimaschutz, Umwelt, Landwirtschaft, Natur- und Verbraucherschutz (MKULNV)

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