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SMATRICS E-Mobility Talk März 2024
Erstellungsdatum: 25.03.2024

E-Mobility Talk: Charging is the clean refueling of tomorrow

The expansion of e-charging infrastructure in Austria is progressing rapidly. Charging capacity in Austria has more than quadrupled in the past three years, and high-speed charging in particular has grown to 35 percent. Future-proof charging parks with dozens of charging points, photovoltaic systems and other services increase convenience and sustainability. However, lengthy approval procedures and complex planning processes are still an obstacle to the expansion of charging infrastructure.

At the 3rd E-Mobility Talk on March 21, 2024, SMATRICS invited experts from the e-business sector to discuss the status of the expansion of e-charging infrastructure in Austria.

Represented were (from left to right): Peter Limberger, Managing Director solarcap / pod bau, Philipp Wieser, Team Leader Austria's Control Center for Electromobility at AustriaTech, Hauke Hinrichs, CEO SMATRICS, Thomas Landsbek, CEO SMATRICS EnBW, Philipp Senoner, Managing Director Alpitronic.


Charging infrastructure as backbone of mobility transition

The charging infrastructure in Austria is growing: in total, there are more than 21,000 public charging points across the country. The share of the total charging capacity at ultra-fast charging points was still 17 per cent in 2021; at the beginning of February 2024, it was already 35 per cent.  SMATRICS EnBW is planning up to 200 more high-speed charging points in 2024 alone. 

"We operate the largest fast charging network in Austria," says Thomas Landsbek, CEO of SMATRICS EnBW. "Our goal is to provide a location for ultra-fast charging every 40 km. We are consistently driving this expansion forward - not only on freeways, but also at retail outlets and in cities." Also because of fast charging providing great advantages in everyday life: "While I'm shopping, my car charges in the parking lot with enough range for the next few days' everyday journeys. This also works without a wallbox at home," adds Thomas Landsbek.

SMATRICS EnBW is part of the EnBW HyperNetz, which offers customers fast charging with the highest performance class, from the borders of Denmark to beyond the Brenner Pass. SMATRICS EnBW plans to set up the first locations in Italy along the main holiday routes in 2024.


Focus on cities & more convenient charging 

En-route charging, i.e. charging during the journey, or destination charging at the destination are becoming increasingly important. This is where SMATRICS comes in with its 360-degree solutions. 

"Charging must be integrated into everyday life and be barrier-free. Vienna, with more than two million inhabitants and comparatively few garage spaces, shows that charging facilities at supermarkets or shopping centers are in high demand," emphasizes Hauke Hinrichs, CEO of SMATRICS.

Customers can also choose their preferred billing option. They can already choose between a charging card and a QR code. Hinrichs sees payment via payment terminal in particular as a game changer: "With the implementation of the AFIR directive, direct payment will also be possible at our SMATRICS EnBW charging stations from mid-April 2024."

In addition, users have the option of having their vehicle activated for the AutoCharge or Plug & Charge functions, which allow the car to start the charging process directly without an intermediate step.


Superlative charging parks - expectations & obstacles

With the ramp-up of e-mobility, the demand for multi-charging hubs is also increasing. The largest charging park to date was implemented by solarcap with 74 DC fast-charging points and was put into operation at the end of 2023 on the A8 in Meggenhofen, Upper Austria.

solarcap Managing Director Peter Limberger explains: "Until now, charging network providers have set up their own charging stations at locations. With our hubs, we bundle the largest charging network providers at one location."

In addition, energy is generated by the company's own PV systems integrated into the carport solutions and supplemented with battery storage. "This allows us to absorb peaks and reduce the load on the grid. This also allows us to optimize the investment," says Limberger.

Nevertheless, structures are needed that allow more speed in the construction of charging infrastructure. "The personnel resources at the distribution grid operators have been cut back in the past to such an extent that the already complex planning processes are becoming even more protracted.

Now everything is coming at once: heat pumps, photovoltaics and electromobility. We need to invest in distribution grids, in expertise and also in personnel so that we can achieve the energy and mobility transition," emphasizes Hinrichs. The new Electricity Industry Act (ElWG) is expected to bring improvements in this area.


Optimization of charging capacity & potential for heavy goods traffic

Charging performance can be further optimized with a new generation of hardware. "With our Alpitronic hyperchargers, we can reduce consumption losses from the current 6 percent to 2.5 percent," says Philipp Senoner, Managing Director of Alpitronic "The trend with new e-vehicles is that they can absorb a higher charging power, which reduces the charging time. Charging power for more than 300 km can be recharged in around ten minutes."

Freight transport will have to make a major contribution to decarbonization in the future and will be able to do so. Even if the ramp-up of e-trucks is currently still slow, forecasts show strong growth in the EU to ten percent by 2030 and even up to 40 percent by 2040.

"A total of 8,000 to 10,000 heavy electric trucks will be on Austria's roads by 2030. In the first tenders of the ENIN funding program, there have already been 512 confirmed grants for heavy battery electric trucks and 2,400 light battery electric trucks," explains Philipp Wieser, Team Leader Austria's Control Center for Electric Mobility at AustriaTech.

We already have around 11,000 light electric commercial vehicles in our national fleet, which is one of the best figures in Europe."

This increases the demand for appropriate charging infrastructure, as trucks have different requirements, be it space requirements, downtimes or required charging capacities.

By 2040, around 4,500 charging points are expected to be needed at highway service stations and rest areas in Austria, 20 percent of which will be for trucks prepared for megawatt charging.

The decisive factor is to provide suitable products for the various charging scenarios of e-trucks. With en-route charging in particular, charging options can be planned in such a way that they coincide as far as possible with the legally prescribed driving breaks.


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