E-Autofahren Erfahrungsbericht Projekter Industrial Design

driving an electric car 

A field report

As the mana­ging direc­tor of an indus­tri­al design agen­cy, I have an affi­ni­ty for tech­no­lo­gy.
I like to try new things and I'm not over­ly atta­ched to the tra­di­tio­nal and tra­di­tio­nal.
The best pre­re­qui­si­tes for an ear­ly adop­ter - someone who doesn't wait for some­thing to beco­me estab­lished, but just does it.

The decision

When, after a total loss four and a half years ago, my prac­ti­cal petrol van was sold to the eter­nal hun­ting grounds in the east, it sud­den­ly came fas­ter than expec­ted: the oppor­tu­ni­ty to buy a new car.

Elec­tro­mo­bi­li­ty has been a topic of deba­te for a long time. Wit­hout fur­ther ado, various appoint­ments were made for test dri­ves with dif­fe­rent elec­tric vehic­les. The rides in the various vehic­les (Renault ZOE, BMW i1, Nis­san Leaf, Smart ED) were like a drug that I couldn't get rid of from then on. Power, acce­le­ra­ti­on, sound and an intui­ti­ve dri­ving expe­ri­ence were into­xi­ca­ting right from the start. In addi­ti­on to the­se emo­tio­nal fac­tors, envi­ron­men­tal con­side­ra­ti­ons (which is why only small and eco­no­mic­al vehic­les were tes­ted), prac­ti­cal­i­ty (I com­mu­te 35 km to work every day and have the oppor­tu­ni­ty to char­ge the vehic­le at home) and curio­si­ty were the dri­ving forces behind the purcha­se strengthened.

E-Autofahren Erfahrungsbericht Projekter Industrial Design
A Smart is small and abso­lut­e­ly sui­ta­ble for ever­y­day use

The vehicle

The decis­i­on fell on the Smart ED fort­wo (model 451).
The reason: We com­mu­te the rou­te in pairs and have a second vehic­le that can be used for vaca­ti­on trips or trans­port­ing mate­ri­als.
A two-seater is suf­fi­ci­ent for the com­mu­te. A Smart is the per­fect vehic­le for the city any­way. It is small, mano­euvra­ble and safe, but offers ever­y­thing you would expect from a modern vehic­le.
Ano­ther fac­tor was the pri­ce. From the group tes­ted, it was the vehic­le with by far the best lea­sing con­di­ti­ons. For around €200/month, the Smart beca­me my dai­ly com­pa­n­ion at the start of the elec­tro­mo­bi­li­ty age.

Electric driving is economical and ecological.

Our agen­cy is loca­ted at the inner har­bor of Duis­burg - my place of resi­dence in the south of Essen.
The com­muter rou­te takes you via the A40 (form­er­ly Ruhr­schnell­weg).
In any case, it is full: be it on the motor­way or in the city when loo­king for a par­king space.
The elec­tric vehic­le shows its strengths in both sce­na­ri­os: On the free­way in stop-and-go traf­fic, an elec­tri­cal­ly ope­ra­ted vehic­le con­su­mes extre­me­ly litt­le ener­gy, sin­ce it recup­er­a­tes with every dece­le­ra­ti­on (the bat­tery is char­ged by the bra­king effect), and this is the case when the vehic­le comes to a standstill hard­ly any ener­gy is used sin­ce no engi­ne is run­ning.
You can ima­gi­ne it like a cord­less screw­dri­ver that only dischar­ges its bat­tery when the switch is pres­sed.
The situa­ti­on is simi­lar in the city: many acce­le­ra­ti­on and bra­king pha­ses.
In addi­ti­on, the­re is an immense - but spe­ci­fic Duis­burg advan­ta­ge: The char­ging for cus­to­mers of the Stadt­wer­ke Duis­burg is curr­ent­ly. free of char­ge and par­king at the char­ging sta­ti­ons during the char­ging pro­cess as well.
Howe­ver, this did not con­tri­bu­te to the purcha­se decis­i­on, as I was not awa­re of this at the time of purcha­se. It was an envi­ron­men­tal bonus, so to speak (which did not yet exist as a purcha­se bonus at that time).

The electrifying driving experience

The best way to descri­be the fee­ling of dri­ving elec­tri­cal­ly is with an expe­ri­ence from the first few weeks with the then new Smart 451.
One night - after see­ing the then-current Star Wars epi­so­de - I got into the Smart and felt like I was in the X-Wing Figh­ter. The sound, the acce­le­ra­ti­on, the direct dri­ving expe­ri­ence, the intui­ti­ve ope­ra­ti­on - ever­y­thing was right.
So I dro­ve through the city like a figh­ter of the Galac­tic Fede­ra­ti­on.
It was uplif­ting. And it still is.

Anyo­ne who has never tried it will not under­stand it.
I recom­mend every V8 sound jun­kie to test dri­ve one of the­se litt­le e-fighters!

E-Autofahren Erfahrungsbericht Projekter Industrial Design
The ran­ge is more than suf­fi­ci­ent and can be che­cked at any time using the prac­ti­cal APP while on the go.


In the begin­ning, the topic of ran­ge was always pre­sent. The view was always on the bat­tery sta­tus, the kilo­me­ters alre­a­dy cover­ed and the pro­gno­sis for the ran­ge.
The eyes could not tear them­sel­ves away from it.
The sub­li­mi­nal fear that one bat­tery char­ge might not be enough for the dai­ly jour­ney was too gre­at.
Howe­ver, this gra­du­al­ly subs­i­ded with the almost exclu­si­ve­ly posi­ti­ve expe­ri­en­ces. In the last 4 ½ years I have expe­ri­en­ced three situa­tions in which ran­ge or bat­tery char­ging thwar­ted my plans. On one occa­si­on, the vehic­le was not char­ged at the char­ging sta­ti­on becau­se it fai­led during the char­ging pro­cess. In the other cases, it was my own fault becau­se I for­got to con­nect the vehic­le after not being able to dri­ve direct­ly to a char­ging sta­ti­on becau­se it was occu­p­ied by ano­ther vehic­le.
The ran­ge of my first model (Smart 451) was a good 140km in sum­mer and about 110km in win­ter (due to hea­ting and less effi­ci­ent bat­tery dischar­ge).
That was more than enough for ever­yo­ne – real­ly all dai­ly trips.
My cur­rent model (Smart fort­wo 453 EQ) has a good 160km sum­mer ran­ge. The requi­red radi­us of action here in the Ruhr area is of cour­se mana­geable at 50-60km.
Howe­ver, around 15% of the Ger­man popu­la­ti­on also live here - a lar­ge tar­get group for elec­tro­mo­bi­li­ty.
In this con­text, the fact that one incre­asing­ly sees an over­si­zed SUV with a sin­gle per­son towe­ring over it seems enorm­ously out of place. I'm sure that a lar­ge pro­por­ti­on of SUV buy­ers would be just as enthu­si­a­stic about a small, modern city run­a­bout after a test - even if it was "only" as a second car.
That is the rea­li­ty any­way: most house­holds have more than one vehic­le. Second or third cars should the­r­e­fo­re not cau­se any logi­sti­cal pro­blems as purely elec­tric vehicles.

E-Autofahren Erfahrungsbericht Projekter Industrial Design Klein Hybrid

The problem with the charging stations

I've been dri­ving a small battery-electric vehic­le with the right bat­tery capa­ci­ty for the pur­po­se for almost five years now.
I am enthu­si­a­stic and wish that many more peo­p­le would do this.
But the­re is a con­tra­dic­tion. The­re has not been a public char­ging sta­ti­on in down­town Duis­burg for five years. The­re are three char­ging sta­ti­ons within wal­king distance of our agen­cy, each with two char­ging points (22KW); and that hasn't chan­ged for five years.
Yes - the char­ging points were only modera­te­ly fre­quen­ted in the first few years. But in the mean­ti­me it's a lot­tery game in the mor­ning as to whe­ther ano­ther vehic­le is alre­a­dy being loa­ded the­re. And you can't know when the vehic­le will lea­ve the char­ging sta­ti­on again. The gro­wing num­ber of high-powered plug-in hybrids is incre­asing­ly exa­cer­ba­ting the pro­blem, as I belie­ve that free par­king at the char­ging sta­ti­on is the prio­ri­ty here.
Some­thing has to hap­pen here! The char­ging infra­struc­tu­re is cle­ar­ly the bot­t­len­eck for elec­tro­mo­bi­li­ty. Pri­va­te char­ging points are one thing - the other is an urban infra­struc­tu­re that would have to be set up in the short term.
Char­ging still works becau­se my new model (Smart 453 EQ) has a 22KW board char­ger instal­led and I can use it to char­ge enough ener­gy in 15 minu­tes to dri­ve home if the bat­tery is com­ple­te­ly emp­ty. It can char­ge an 80% at a 22KW char­ging sta­ti­on in around 45 minu­tes. This gives me the fle­xi­bi­li­ty to cope with some­what adver­se loa­ding conditions.


It's fun, it feels good, it's (if you choo­se a small sen­si­ble vehic­le) eco­lo­gi­cal and eco­no­mic­al. 
Our tax con­sul­tant can't belie­ve the low com­pa­ny lea­sing cos­ts with all the bene­fits for every deal.
Elec­tro­mo­bi­li­ty is one thing, choo­sing the right car for the job is ano­ther.
The com­bi­na­ti­on of all aspects is important: anyo­ne who can use public trans­port sen­si­bly or can get to work by bicy­cle or elec­tric bicy­cle should do so.
But if you want to / have to com­ple­te your com­mu­te by car, you should serious­ly con­sider whe­ther this car has to have five seats, over 100 hp, a ran­ge of 500 km and a weight of over 1.5 tons. If not - then a small Stro­mer is defi­ni­te­ly the right option.

Starten Sie Ihr eigenes Projekt mit uns!

Teilen Sie den Beitrag mit Kollegen!