User-centric e-mobility Wuppertal (EmoTal)
A variety of options make e-mobility more attractive
Owners of electric vehicles feel they are still at a clear disadvantage when it comes to everyday use. In addition to shortfalls in charging infrastructures and range, hard-to-gauge operating costs are also making people think twice before buying. These costs are difficult to predict: Since there are still relatively few electric vehicles on the market, there’s also little data on accidents, damage and service intervals. What’s more, the vast potential offered by pedelecs (a kind of electric bicycle) for easing congestion and the burden on the environment is going untapped, especially in mountain regions. Younger generations are reluctant to adopt pedelecs since they associate them mostly with seniors. How can we turn this situation around and make electric mobility more appealing?
Innovations for user-oriented e-mobility
The mountain region around Wuppertal is an ideal place to find answers to this question. A high number of electric vehicles here are privately owned, a situation that evolved naturally and not as the result of trial schemes (emobil.wuppertal-aktiv.de, in German). User behavior and the requirements of those actually buying and using electric vehicles are being studied using the latest user-centered and universal design methods. The findings from this analysis and the usage model developed for it will be fed into the creation of made-to-measure service innovations that match the everyday practical needs of users. These innovations fall into three application areas: First, special e-training and certification programs will be developed for local repair shops and safety organizations to lower the cost of repair and risk to users. Second, analyzing driving behavior as well as the resulting wear and required maintenance will give rise to a dynamic range of e-insurance options. These in turn will generate yet more approaches for using electric vehicles safely. Third, developing a sports and leisure app in the form of a demonstrator for using pedelecs as e-fitness bikes should open up e-mobility to a new target group and raise the profile of local e-mobility locations.
Innovative e-services for mitigating buyers’ hesitation
The EmoTal concepts will be put into practice by reliable partners in order to open up new business areas and customer groups. Certification and e-training concepts for repair shops and emergency services (firefighters, police, etc.) are to be developed in collaboration with TÜV NORD bildung. Schmitz • Horn • Treber GmbH, an e-insurance specialist, will aid in developing a flexible and customizable tariff system that takes into account customer-specific safety requirements. Together with the city of Wuppertal, pedelecs are being adapted for a wider range of functions. An information campaign is also under way to promote the use of pedelecs as e-fitness bikes for special and everyday purposes. Research partners RWTH Aachen University and the University of Wuppertal will incorporate project know-how into their research and teaching programs and distribute it among other regions and networks. Overall, EmoTal will make all kinds of electric vehicle services more appealing, services that will benefit users, service providers and of course electric vehicle manufacturers.
Keywords: e-mobility, user-centered design, e-insurance models, training and certification concepts
Dr. Sigmund Schimanski
University of Wuppertal
Phone: +49 202 439-1158