Not every public EV charging station is set up for convenient top-off and payment. Bosch has developed a service that makes both an exercise in convenience. Bosch associate Sonja Bloechlinger takes a trip through Switzerland to demonstrate what this service is already capable of and what it will be able to do in the near future thanks to in-vehicle integration and its accompanying app.
Stuttgart behind, charging convenience ahead
Electric cars’ zippy acceleration and zero local emissions promise plenty of motoring pleasure. But the fun usually stops and the complications start at public charging stations, where different operators have different rates and conditions. EV drivers have to juggle an average of six recharging apps (sources: UScale, NewMotion). Bosch now offers a comprehensive system called "convenience charging" which is designed to make life much easier for e-vehicle owners. It's integrated into the vehicle and also features an accompanying app. Sonja Bloechlinger heads up Bosch corporate communications in Switzerland. She's going to demonstrate convenience charging’s capabilities on a road trip that will take her from Stuttgart over the Bernina Pass near St. Moritz to Zurich. “Our solution enables manufacturers to make their electric vehicles even more convenient and user-friendly,” says Sonja.
225 km out at Hohenems: time to reserve a charging station
Bosch has offered a free e-mobility app for several years now. It affords e-car drivers easy access to one of Europe’s largest charging networks, consisting of more than 200,000 charging stations at the time of writing. The app has had a major upgrade, with new features added for convenience charging. A few days before she sets off, Sonja launches the app on her smartphone to plan the trip. All she has to do is enter the destination; convenience charging takes care of the rest. The app checks both the route and the car’s charging status and determines that the charge will need to be topped off along the way. The built-in map suggests charging points to Sonja en route. She quickly scans the suggestions and opts for a fast charging station at a rest stop near Hohenems, an Austrian town not far from the Swiss border.
When she gets into the car a few days later, she can set off on her road trip straightaway. The app sends the route she had planned on her smartphone to the vehicle’s infotainment system as she climbs into the car. A notification appears on the dashboard screen as Sonja approaches Hohenems: all the charging points at the selected rest stop are occupied. But Sonja isn't worried — convenience charging immediately suggests alternatives nearby. She selects a fast charger at a rest stop near Maienfeld. This time, however, she wants to make sure the charging station is available, so she reserves it simply by pressing a button on the infotainment screen. A little later, Sonja's car pulls up into the parking lot of the rest stop, quaintly named Heidiland for the celebrated children’s book. Its author Johanna Spyri set the story in this region.
More than 200,000
charging stations throughout Europe can be used quickly and easily with convenience charging. This makes Bosch's charging network one of Europe’s largest.
282 km out at Maienfeld: time to see how convenient charging can be
Sonja steps up to the charging station and scans the QR code with her phone’s camera. A screen showing the details for her chosen charger opens immediately in the app. She can start the charging process without having to type in a password or register. The app indicates charging time and expected costs. Sonja plugs the cable into her vehicle. The charging point switches off when the battery reaches the indicated level. The app settles the bill automatically without Sonja having to lift a finger.
385 km out at St. Moritz: more fun with personalized charging
A little later, Sonja sees St. Moritz ahead. She wants to take a break in the famous spa town before she heads up the Bernina Pass. She decides to use convenience charging’s very handy personalized services. These allow drivers to store their personal interests, which the system then takes into account when searching for charging stations. If desired, convenience charging can even identify the user’s charging habits and preferences on its own. Sonja has saved her preferences. She likes charming city centers and sightseeing, so convenience charging recommends charging points near Via Serlas. Sonja takes the opportunity to stroll along St. Moritz’s shopping promenade while her car charges in a parking garage. “This feature spares you a boring wait and lets you use your time constructively,” she says. The app sends Sonja a notification the moment the battery charge is topped off to the specified level, letting her know she is free to resume her road trip.
407 km out at the Bernina Pass: accurate range forecasting — even up mountains
The Bernina Pass beckons after the last break. The road heading out of St. Moritz rises steadily. Electric cars consume more power on long ascents like this, which normally throws off the range forecast. Conventional on-board computers calculate the remaining range based on current energy consumption. The displayed range plummets when the car suddenly draws a lot more power on an uphill climb. Energy consumption and the range forecast will return to normal levels when the car heads back downhill or the road plateaus, but this inaccuracy is a source of anxiety for many drivers.
Convenience charging is equipped with highly accurate range forecasting to dispel such concerns. It does take current power consumption into account, but also factors in real-time vehicle data such as battery temperature, measured gross weight, air drag, and road resistance. Traffic, weather, and topographical data also flow from the cloud into the range forecast. With this information, the system knows things like when a mountain road will level off. If the driver has set out on the road without having entered a route, a polygon appears on the digital map to graphically display the remaining range.
The benefits of convenience charging
631 km out at Zurich: a solution that travels well
Sonja arrives home in Zurich a few hours later. She found the road trip through the mountains quite relaxing. “Recharging at public stations is so easy with convenience charging. It makes electromobility even more fun,” she says, summing up her experiences. Bosch recharging services not only offer solutions to many of e-mobility's biggest challenges, they also make time spent behind the wheel more enjoyable overall.