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Smart cities 12/12/2018

CES 2019: charge&go, ENGIE's green mobility solution for cities

ENGIE has created charge&go, an eco-friendly charging solution for electric vehicles that finds and transports energy from the city to the vehicles. The CES in January 2019 at the ENGIE & Partners booth will mark the official launch of charge&go.Camille Delesalle (product sales lead for Ineo UTS) and Nicolas Clerc (in charge of the charge&go solution) told us about the different aspects of this modular solution.

Isn’t charge&go just a simple charging solution for electric buses?

charge&go is ENGIE's solution for getting around in cities in a greener way. ENGIE has decided to think in a holistic way about the arrival of electric buses in the city and to not only supply chargers.

As a result of the COP21, cities are having to shift their public transport energy supply from fossil energy to electricity (or more rarely to hydrogen). This transition is not easy for them. Cities’ electricity capacity has not been designed to power fleet of dozens of buses.

How can their depots be modified, where should chargers should be located, what types of buses should be chosen, where to get the necessary energy? To help elected officials think about these questions, charge&go is helping cities in several phases:

  • First, thinking about how to build the line and what options to choose for the chargers (type, number, etc ...)
  • Next, identifying the various energy sources in the city and how this energy is transported to charging locations so the chargers have the energy they need.
  • Lastly, installing smart charging infrastructure that optimizes charging programs based on operational needs.


What are the strengths of the charge&go solution?

If we had to describe charge&go in one word, it would be "optimization".

  • Optimization of city infrastructure: charge&go seeks energy simultaneously from various existing networks (high voltage, tramway or subway power supply networks, renewable energies, etc.) and builds a real smart grid for the vehicles. We get energy wherever it is available. If the infrastructure already exists within the city, charge&go uses it without having to build new infrastructure.
  • Optimization of recharging infrastructure: with regards to fleet recharging, classic designs involve installing a complete electrical conversion chain for each bus, whereas charge&go shares the equipment. Only one infrastructure system is installed for all vehicles.
  • Optimization of energy: With charge&go, ENGIE also addresses vehicle operating programs. This feature allows for smart charging management, which is done in a reason-based way based on the needs and availability of the network.

We should highlight that in the absence of smart system, as soon as you connect a bus it starts charging, without accounting for whether the network is able to support it or not. This ability to manage and control charging is a real advantage of this solution.

To summarize, ENGIE's charge&go solution optimizes space, equipment and infrastructure, costs and energy consumption for the city.


A highlight of the solution is that your chargers are very small. How did you do that?

We designed the architecture of the infrastructure by pooling everything we could: connections to the network, transformers, rectifiers. We put all this equipment into a kind of big box that can easily be camouflaged or integrated and which is silent and compact. This allows us to remove as many elements as possible from the bus depot, and the cell only contains the bare necessities. So the box lets us not only reduce the overall amount of infrastructure needed, but also reduce the amount of space required around buses, so much so that they can be hung on the walls.

To give you an idea, to load 12 buses, you need a box about 18 m2 and two cells. The entire apparatus uses about 20 m2 versus more than 30 m2 for conventional solutions.


What kind of needs does ENGIE’s charge&go solution address?

charge&go offers two products for two different needs based on the typologies and densities of cities.

  • Buses that charge at night in the depot. In this case, we offer charge&go optim' to charge bus fleets with very long battery life (up to 200 km).
  • Buses that charge all along their route during service; we call this the feeder method. In this case, we offer charge&go flash so buses can charge in minutes.

Optimum chargers deliver power of about 90 kW while flash chargers deliver up to 600 kW. Both products complement each other perfectly and meet all of a city’s needs.

While this ENGIE solution is currently being marketed mainly for charging of all types of buses, it is intended to be able to charge all types of vehicles that operate in cities.


What does it mean for you to participate in CES?

For two years our experts have focused on issues facing cities and created charge&go as an innovative solution for the future that aims to support cities around the world in the energy revolution.

For us, the CES is the benchmark event for innovation and the worldwide epitome of everything revolutionary in every sector. This is why we chose CES to reveal charge&go.


What would be the meeting of your dreams at CES?

charge&go needs to change the way cities and communities approach their transition.

Today, when cities or communities want to transform their bus lines, they apply lessons from diesel buses to electric mobility. For the most part, they start by buying the buses and then think about the infrastructure. However, for truly green mobility, recharging infrastructure can’t be thought of the way petrol stations were thought of in the past.

If we want cities to be smart with regard to energy, we need to think more comprehensively. So the meeting of our dreams would be with a spokesperson convinced of the necessity of this paradigm shift. Today we need cities to discover and embrace this new approach.


How do you see mobility in 2030?

In 2030, we imagine a transport network that is carbon-free with a distributed energy mix including green gas, hydrogen-based electric vehicles, battery-based electric vehicles, and decarbonized, digitalized solutions like car sharing and public transport on demand.

ENGIE's dream for 2030 is to develop a diversified public transport that costs less, is more extensive and more frequent. By redirecting lost energy sources to bus chargers, ENGIE wants to create a transport network that is accessible to all and respectful of the environment.

Source: Christine Leroy

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