Press & Media

Can electric mobility be applied off-grid?


Last Monday, September 28th, German professionals from the automotive and energy sector came together with South American off-grid experts for a rich and intriguing discussion on e-mobility in developed and developing countries.

The tour started with a group of visitors, who were guided through the Auer-Mühlbach in the southwest area of Munich, where a complete off-grid electrific system was set up for demonstration.  By the water, one could control an electric boat motor Cruise 4.0 from Torqueedo, manufacture of electric motors from the Lake Starnberg. On the shore, a grey block drew attention, requiring some explanation from the engineers: “This is the battery bank of the motor and it is charged by renewables, here we are 100% off-grid.”

Besides this motor, there were e-bikes to ride and a prototype electric car from the Technische Universität München integrated in the off-grid system. At a traditional location of Munich, visitors experienced how e-mobility can work off-grid, the way it usually works in remote areas such as the Amazonian rain forest.

Innovative concepts of electric mobility connected to smart micro grids in Germany were shared by Christian Kandler, Institute for Energy Economy and Application Technology (IfE in German), who showed the results of research supported by e-Mobilie, BMW Group, SMA, among others. According to this, building the charger stations off-grid is the most efficient way of decreasing the use of battery. In this same logic, José Jara from Tratural presented the first e-boat projects in Galapagos and Ecuador, which worked accordingly to the expectation, until they encountered some bureaucracy problems with the local government. The ambition of José Jara is now to improve the life quality in Cuenca, implementing a project with public e-bikes.

Behind this off-grid e-mobility day is the start-up also from Lake Starnberg, Smart Hydro Power that is working on an e-boat project with the municipality of Schondorf. The plan is to install renewable energy charging stations in the Colombian Amazon, using the water potential of the region though river turbines.

Visitors from different countries, institutions and industry sectors came to learn experience and discuss the various technologies and concepts. At the end of the evening, the discussion raised financial and cultural points of e-mobility. In regards to the adoption of the technology, Mrs. Le-Bris from Green City PROJEKT add: “E-mobility is something that you have to try in order to like it. Once you feel the joy of riding an e-bike, you will not exchange it for anything, especially if you reside in an uneven area.”