Last month in Barcelona, the NeMo project began a cross-border drive across Europe under real-life test conditions in an electric car. The project team drove 5,000 kilometres through 9 European countries, stopping at various charge points on the journey to demonstrate the validity of the Inter-Roaming protocol developed by the project.
Electric cars are gaining in popularity, but planning for a long trip is not always practical: electric charging stations belong to different networks and offer different conditions of access and payment. Electric roaming platforms already enable an interoperable solution with more than 100,000 charge points all over Europe: they already allow customers of connected charge point operators to use the facilities of many other operators. However drivers wishing to make long-distance trips outside their local area have still needed to have numerous cards or apps to access different charge points.
To make electromobility seamless and more attractive, the NeMo project has developed a Hyper-Network of tools and services, connecting service providers, such as charge point operators, eRoaming platform providers, vehicle manufacturers and electricity distribution system operators, to enhance the available range of user services.
As a result of the NeMo Project, the European Inter-Roaming solution provides interoperable cross-border and platform-independent charging services by interconnecting different eRoaming platforms that currently employ different protocols.
The long-term vision is to achieve a similar concept to mobile phone roaming in Europe, where the user only needs a single account with one operator.
A first test drive performed in 2017, before the implementation of the Inter-Roaming protocol, identified key issues affecting long-distance travel in electric vehicles. The second test drive that began on 20 May and was completed on 29 June took the project team through Spain, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, the Czech Republic, Austria, Slovenia and Italy, returning to Barcelona to close a loop 5.000 kilometres long.
The team crossed the finish line in Barcelona at the historic Ca l’Alier site, which will host the NeMo Final Conference and Exhibition on 19th September 2019. The event is free of charge, and will present the achievements of the NeMo project, the lessons learned from the project’s Test Drives, and the next steps for the development of electromobility in Europe.
Together 14 drivers from 8 project partners participated in the Test Drive in the test vehicle, a fully electric Renault Zoé R110, provided by project partner Renault. 67 chargers were tested across 9 countries, some of which are already compatible with the Interroaming protocol. Some were fast chargers, some were residential neighbourhood chargers; located in various areas such as highway rest stops, public squares, parking lots, industrial areas, public building or village squares.
‘Range anxiety in anticipation of long journeys remains a key concern for many drivers who are otherwise enthusiastic about the benefits of owning an electric vehicle’ says Hugo Roebroeck, who participated as a test driver for ERTICO. ‘Our test has shown that electric cars are not just limited to commuting or local trips. With the Inter-Roaming protocol, drivers now have access to a continuously expanding network of fast chargers, in cities and along motorways across Europe.’
As many Europeans begin traveling across borders for the summer holidays, the NeMo team has proved that long-distance cross-border journeys in electric vehicles are possible and that electromobility is a viable alternative to internal combustion engines not only in cities, but also for long-distance travel.
The NeMo partners are now working on analysing the results of this real-life test. Stay-tuned for further feature articles about the team’s experience and join the Final Event and Conference in September to learn more and meet the team.