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Einführung in die Elektromobilität - Elektromobilität, E-Fahrzeuge & Ladeinfrastruktur einfach erklärt
Erstellungsdatum: 07.07.2023

E-mobility explained simply: E-vehicles & charging infrastructure

Have you ever wondered how cars can run without gasoline or diesel? This is exactly where e-mobility comes into play: instead of fossil fuels, electricity is used to power vehicles. The vehicles are charged at charging infrastructures such as wallboxes (mostly privately owned) or charging stations (almost exclusively in public areas) - ideally, the electricity used in the process also comes from renewable energies, but more on this later.

In this article in our series "E-mobility simply explained", we will give you an initial overview of the basics of electric mobility and, in particular, go into what e-vehicles are, what distinguishes electric drives from regular propulsion systems and what is meant by charging infrastructure.


What is e-mobility and what are e-vehicles?

E-mobility, short form of electric mobility, refers to the use of electricity as an energy source for vehicles. Instead of using fossil fuels, such as gasoline or diesel, electric vehicles are powered by electricity fed into the drive from a battery in the vehicle. Similar to your phone or laptop, these batteries store energy and provide it when needed to get a vehicle moving.

When an electric vehicle needs to be charged, it can be plugged into a charging station, much like you plug in your other devices to charge. Charging stations are basically gas stations for e-vehicles, where the traction batteries are charged with electricity. Some people have small charging stations at home in the form of so-called wallboxes, basically a mini-gas station in the garage.

E-vehicles produce no harmful emissions, which means they have a considerably less negative impact on the environment and help to reduce air pollution. They also operate quietly, which reduces noise pollution in urban environments. With technological advances and the use of renewable energy sources such as hydro, solar and wind power, e-mobility is a clean and sustainable way to get around.


How does the drive system of e-vehicles work?

The drive technology of e-vehicles basically results from the interaction between the drive battery and the electric motor: The battery in an e-vehicle serves as a power source that stores the electricity needed to operate the electric motor. A clever arrangement of magnets and coils is required to convert the electrical energy into mechanical energy:

  1. Electric currents: When the electric motor is connected to the battery, the current from the battery begins to flow through it. This current consists of tiny particles called electrons.
  2. Magnetic field: Inside the motor there are magnets. These magnets create a magnetic field.
  3. Coils and wires: Around the magnets are wound wires, also called coils. These are made of special metal, usually copper. When current flows through these coils, it creates another magnetic field.
  4. Magnetic interaction: now something amazing happens - the magnetic fields of the magnets and the coils interact with each other. They push and pull on each other, creating a rotational motion.
  5. Mechanical energy: As the magnets and the coils continue to pull and push on each other, the rotational motion is transferred to a shaft that is connected to wheels or gears. This is where the crucial thing happens - the electrical energy from the battery is converted into mechanical energy that makes the motor turn and drives the wheels of the electric vehicle.

Simply put, an electric motor uses electricity to generate magnetic forces and these forces make the motor turn. When the motor spins, it generates mechanical energy that is used to drive the wheels of the e-vehicle.


What is charging infrastructure and what is its significance for e-mobility?

Charging infrastructure in e-mobility can, on the one hand, refer to a network of specific locations called charging stations, but at the same time it can also mean individual stations, regardless of the type of hardware used. These stations can be publicly available to all e-mobilists or non-publicly owned by private individuals, companies, organizations or institutions.

In the case of public-access charging infrastructure, charge point operators (CPOs) strive to locate them strategically to achieve high utilization and provide convenient access to e-vehicle charging for as many users as possible.

Most larger or more powerful charging stations are now equipped with integrated charging cables / plugs that fit into the charging port of the e-vehicle so that power can be transferred from the charging station to the vehicle battery. For smaller stations and wallboxes, a separate charging cable is required.


What are the types of loading and where are they used?

Let's look at the different ways of charging e-vehicles:

  • Charging at home with a wallbox: owners of e-vehicles who have suitable local conditions, and the corresponding capital, mostly rely on small charging stations, so-called wallboxes, at home. Although these stations are efficient, they also have a low power output and are therefore particularly suitable in cases where e-vehicles are charged for a longer period of time and do not have to be ready to drive or fully charged again within a very short timespan. E-vehicles can be conveniently charged at wallboxes overnight, for example.
  • Semi-public / non-public charging at company sites: Drivers in companies with e-fleets have the option of charging in company parking lots and thus using their companies own charging infrastructure for fleet vehicles. These charging options can be used by employees with company cars as well as optionally their private cars, and in many cases also by guests.
  • Public charging stations can be very similar to classic gas stations, but are designed specifically for e-vehicles. They can be located in parking lots, shopping centers and along major roads, among other places. Many gas stations are upgrading their locations with charging infrastructure for e-mobility. E-mobilists can charge their e-vehicles while they shop, work or take a break - for this purpose, mostly powerful high-power chargers are used, with which electricity for a 100 km range can be charged within 5 minutes.


More information and interesting facts about e-mobility: