The switch to e-mobility is also taking shape in Austrian cab fleets. This year, ten cab ranks and 66 e-vehicles will be retrofitted with "Matrix Charging" in Vienna and Graz as part of the "eTaxi Austria" project. The automated conductive charging technology was developed by the high-tech company Easelink. For the globally unique pilot project, FACTUREE is supplying various turned and milled parts made of aluminum. They are installed in the integrated "Matrix Charging Connector". During the charging process of an eTaxi, the connector is automatically lowered from the vehicle underbody and connected to a charging pad at the parking lot for charging.
According to the national energy and climate plan, only zero-emission cabs and rental cars will be allowed in Austria from 2025. This measure paves the way for e-mobility. The stated goal is to reduce emissions and improve the quality of life in cities. However, previous eTaxi initiatives have shown that trips to charging stations as well as on-site charging times lead to uneconomic waiting times. The eTaxi Austria project aims to remedy this situation and relies on automated charging directly at charging stations. This avoids interruptions to get to the next charging station and makes the economic operation of electric cabs possible.
Automated charging, a precursor to autonomous driving
The eTaxi Austria project supports the switch of Vienna and Graz cab fleets to e-mobility primarily by providing charging options at the cab stand. Among others, the high-tech company Easelink, headquartered in Graz, is involved in the ambitious project. Over 60 eTaxis in the Vienna and Graz area will be equipped with the automated charging technology "Matrix Charging" developed by Easelink. Users of an e-car are relieved of having to plug in and unplug the vehicle thanks to the special technology. Easelink's goal is to standardize automated charging and thus prepare the e-fueling process for autonomous driving as well.
The Matrix Charging System consists of two main components. Its compact design allows the Matrix Charging Connector to be easily integrated into the underbody of an electric vehicle. The vehicle unit is joined by an infrastructure unit directly at the parking space, the Matrix Charging Pad. As soon as the e-vehicle parks above the Charging Pad at the parking lot, the Connector is automatically lowered by the e-vehicle and physically connected to the Charging Pad at the cab stand. The charging process is automated without the driver having to leave the e-vehicle.
FACTUREE supplies important components for the core element of the charging system
FACTUREE supplies important components for the core element of the charging system For one of the two core components of the conductive charging system, the Matrix Charging Connector, the online manufacturer FACTUREE supplies various small turned and milled parts made of aluminum. Easelink benefits from great flexibility and plannability through the cooperation. This is because FACTUREE draws on a wide range of network partners, manufacturing techniques and surface treatments. As a result, the online manufacturer can constantly offer a very wide range of materials and has virtually unlimited production capacities - this is a major competitive advantage in times when supply problems are more frequent for classic contract manufacturers due to global crises.
The Matrix Charging System can already be retrofitted to the most common electric vehicles on the market. The eTaxi Austria project is preparing the rollout of the automated charging infrastructure, thus setting the course for the mobility turnaround.