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Michelin, Siemens to Test EV Affordability

Michelin and Siemens staff will use electric vehicles for trips from Germany and France as part of a demonstration project that aims to prove that EVs are cheaper overall than conventional fossil fuel-powered vehicles.

The three-year demonstration project, which will kick off in a few weeks, includes research partners Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research ISI. The German Federal Ministry of Transport, Building, and Urban Development (BMVBS) will fund half of the project under the Baden-Württemberg LivingLab BWe mobil showcase project. The consortium partners will pay for the other half of the nearly €2 million project, according to KIT.

E-MotionLine, a company established by KIT graduates, will provide the EV vans for the project. E-MotionLine helps companies select the most efficient vehicles, coordinate charging infrastructure, and train drivers in using this new technology.

The project partners will work closely with the CROss-border Mobility for EVs (CROME) project, which is is funded by several German and French ministries, to coordinate the use of charging infrastructure on both sides of the border.

Fraunhofer ISI and KIT have already studied user expectations and commercialization obstacles. The factors that prevent people from using electric vehicles include high costs, small ranges, and limited availability of charging infrastructure, KIT said.

Siemens aims to increase the acceptance of EVs among its employees through this project. Staff members will be able to test the EV during business trips between its Karlsruhe plant and its factory in Alsace, France, said Hans-Georg Kumpfmüller, spokesman for the Karlsruhe plant.

A recent study of major companies, including Boots, Morrisons and Network Rail, found firms switching to electric or plug-in vehicles could reduce their fleet fuel costs by 75 percent. The study, “Plugged-In Fleets Initiative: Charging Forward,” found companies that operate vehicles with mileage below 80 miles per day would be able to meet their transportation needs by all-electric vehicles on a single overnight charge.


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