Wireless electric taxi rank charging gets closer as ongoing trials prove to be a success

a taxi company
a taxi company

Wireless taxi rank charging is making positive steps forward after successfully being tested for 18 months in Germany, with a massive pilot now being planned to follow towards the end of 2021.

The idea of charging whilst you wait for passengers was previously thought impossible for taxi drivers because of the need for wired chargepoints. However, that is all about to change with the introduction of inductive charging technology. 

TALAKO (The joint project Taxi-Charging-Concept for Public Spaces) is currently funded with €2million by the Federal Ministry of Economics. The project collaboration includes the LEVC and UDE, the City of Cologne, RheinEnergie AG, the University of Wuppertal, INTIS GmbH, and TaxiRuf (Cologne).

The 1st ‘barrier-free’ taxi with inductive charging tech has been on the streets of Mülheim recently, where a taxi company has placed a prototype system into operation.

Project manager, Professor Heike Proff, stated: “In this way, we are making a significant contribution to sustainable mobility, and we also receive critical information on developing future business models.”

Wireless energy transfer takes place by utilising an inductive charging strip which is integrated underground into the taxi rank itself. The counterpart is then attached to the underbody of the electric vehicle. When the 2 systems see each other, charging then begins. The car’s own assistance system, which connects to an exterior camera, then shows whether the driver has parked correctly. 

The charging power is 20kw, which is roughly the same amount of power the electric car receives from a traditional cable charge. Additionally, Charging with a cable is still also possible. 

Daniel Jaspers from the research dept. said: “Enough electricity is delivered for around one kilometer a minute.”

The research team also state that the waiting time for taxis at the train station is approximately 45 minutes. This time could be utilised perfectly as charging time. 

In comparison: the LEVC TX taxi can run for 120 to 150 km on a full charge. Just how much exactly depends on the the number of passengers and the type of use. Should the journey get longer, the range extender is activated during motion. A fuel-operated supply then extends the range by around 500km if needed.

In September 2022, the UDE researchers intend to complete the project and showcase their results. The city of Cologne is already fully convinced; it wants to support 4 of the €70,000 vehicles with a contribution of €12,000. 

A local energy firm will install the pilot system during the test project period, with 6 inductive charging stations and will supply the electricity needed for this for free. 

Daniel Jaspers added: “If 5% of the estimated 1,200 taxis in Cologne are electrified, up to 50,000 tons of CO2 would be saved annually.”