Following the trials with e-cars in London last year, Daimler AG and German utility RWE AG based in Essen , have announced their joint "E-Mobility Berlin", which will start next year and should be fully operational by end 2009.
Daimler will provide 100 Mercedes Benz and Smart cars and RWE will cover he costs of the development, installation and operation of about 500 the electricity charging stations, the electricity, and central control / payment system. Chargers will be located at customers' homes, workplaces and in public parking areas.
Angela Merkel and German Transport Minister Wolfgang Tiefensee were at the launch press bullshit sessions to wonder at this feat of teutonic technology . Merkel called it "a truly groundbreaking project," for the capital, the auto industry and for utilities and for Germany.
New lithium-ion batteries developed specifically for use in the cars are being developed. These should provide greater range (100Km / 60 miles) short charging times, with smaller and lighter batteries.
The new battery will first be used in the Mercedes S 400 BlueHYBRID next year.
The integrated payment system will involve the exchange of data between a special in-car communication system and the intelligent electricity charging points for "effective, customer-friendly and convenient everyday operation", as easy as using a mobile phone.
It is useful to take stock of the forecasts made by Toyota in their third Sustainability Report 2008: Towards a New Future for People, Society, and the Planet says there are 800 to 900 million passenger vehicles in use globally. The number increases by 100 mn every 5 years and if this rate of growth continues there will be 1 billion vehicles in 2010 and 1.5 billion vehicles in 2020.UPDATE see here