Continental plans intelligent EV charging platform
Continental hopes to overcome what it sees as the greatest obstacles to the success of electric vehicles – concerns regarding limited range.
“We want to ensure that electric vehicles can be used just as spontaneously, independently, flexibly and are as enjoyable to drive as today’s gasoline or diesel vehicles,” explains Helmut Matschi, Member of the Executive Board of Continental AG and Head of the Interior division. “Our technology can even greatly simplify the process of building up the required charging infrastructure since we bring charging intelligence to the vehicle.”
Continental develops electronics systems that help electric vehicles analyze their routes in advance, identify charging stations and times, make the charging process efficient, and monitor batteries. The firm is planning to address infrastructure requirements with a network information system and virtual switching center through which system participants can exchange information and data among themselves and with the vehicle.
The company hopes to provide the platform and the necessary data communication as well as the necessary electronics for the vehicle, including a GPS module for positioning and a GSM module for mobile communications, as well as an interface to the vehicle bus system.
Matschi said that until now, only static information has been entered into the databases of electronic navigators for individual routes, but Continental, in cooperation with service providers and with the help of vehicle electronics, is planning to provide multifaceted traffic information in real time.
He said Continental technology will help determine what routes pose a traffic jam risk, and to what extent, when the heater or windshield wipers need to be switched on due to wind and weather conditions, how long the air conditioner is needed, and where downhill slopes will enable the motor to act as a generator and the vehicle to charge its batteries itself.
While gas stations can be found almost everywhere, public charging stations for electric vehicles are still rare, are not completely integrated into navigation systems, and involve wait times if they are already being used by another vehicle.
The Continental platform will list the locations and accessibility of charging posts on a daily basis and will let drivers know when, where, and how long individual charging points will be occupied. Drivers will be able to book charging times while traveling and structure the required charging periods as effectively as possible.
The Continental electronics system will also provide in-vehicle access to e-mails and social networks as well as Internet radio and television. Continental’s AutoLinQ system, currently working with Deutsche Telekom, can interact with programmable instrument clusters.
With the platform and its interfaces to the system partners, Continental also plans to enable intelligent, controlled charging at regular power outlets. Since all the intelligence, and hence control of the charging process, is present in the vehicle, even complex charging algorithms can be handled via conventional power outlets. According to Matschi, it is not the socket, but the control electronics in the vehicle that determine when how much power flows, whether the batteries should be charged quickly or slowly, or whether charging should occur at night to take advantage of lower energy rates.
Consumption data and charging information will be available online via the platform and can be allocated to the individual energy suppliers and mobility providers.
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