SMIGHT, a start-up from German energy supplier EnBW Energie Baden-Württemberg AG, has created an innovative electric vehicle charging station which has been made possible through the HUBER+SUHNER MIMO antennas. The intelligent charging station for electric cars combines various applications such as lighting, sensors, electric mobility and public WLAN, to readily equip municipalities for smart city needs.
The victory march of electro mobility is looming – by 2040, Bloomberg estimates that 54 percent of all new car purchases will be electric vehicles. Electric vehicles have lower maintenance costs, are environmentally friendly and are emission-free, making them ideal for cities facing exhaust emission concerns across the world. Their rising awareness is not just benefitting the environment, but also manufacturers who are seeing a production and sales figure boost. With the increase, there is a growing need for more accessible charging facilities. To combat this, SMIGHT has developed a new intelligent charging solution for electric vehicles, the Base powercharger, to enable the driver to travel from A to B hassle-free without any charging problems.
CREATING COMFORTABILITY WITH TECHNOLOGY
The SMIGHT Base powercharger is a compact e-charger which stands at a height of just 1.7 metres and can be set up in any location. Consisting of two intelligent charging points that enable the fast, convenient charging of an electric vehicle, the integrated Public WLAN hotspot offers people in the surrounding area a fast, unlimited and free connection to the Internet. Other features of the solution include the built-in sensors, which inform the driver in real-time whether the parking space in front of the charging station is available.
As drivers will need to charge their vehicle at any select point on their route, the Powercharger must withstand all weather conditions and potential vandalism, which created high demands for the implemented antenna. During its evaluation, SMIGHT opted for the SENCITY® OMNI-S MIMO ANTENNA by HUBER+SUHNER as the company was able to produce prototypes for electrical tests based on the relevant environmental regulations within a short period of time. The antennas can be configured in the Base powercharger for special needs, are vandalism-proof and can be adapted for indoor and outdoor use. The tailor-made solution no longer only relies on one mobile/LTE antenna, but on two WLAN dual-band antennas in the same housing, which provide free WLAN to the user of the Base powercharger.
DELIVERING UNDER SHORT TIME CONSTRAINTS
For HUBER+SUHNER, this project was an educational challenge, faced with obstacles that it had to overcome against a short timeframe. For example, the length of the connecting cables of the MIMO antenna had to be changed twice during the preparation phase, even before series production began. Yet due to the HUBER+SUHNER research and development team carrying out simulations in record time, developing the technology as well as preparing a pilot series of sample antennas specifically produced for testing purposes, the project was able to be implemented within the specified time frame and was a renowned success.
The antenna now meets the environmental requirements after rigorous qualification testing for resistance to vibration and mechanical stress, and the technology can even survive earthquakes and other natural disasters. The tailored adaption to changing customer requirements and the close cooperation between HUBER+SUHNER and SMIGHT led to the ultimate success of the project.
THE SMIGHT and HUBER+SUHNER project has enabled the world to move one step closer to achieving nationwide electro mobility, by making charging stations possible at locations where this was previously not feasible.
THE FUTURE OF THE MIMO ANTENNA
The tailored specifications of this project has already resulted in a range of new antenna combinations that can now be implemented into the HUBER+SUHNER antenna configurator and are available to all customers.
The project commenced after initial discussions in 2015 with the first request in 2016 to determine customer requirements. In early 2017, the customer ordered the first antennas required for the market launch of the SMIGHT Base powercharger. Since 2018, HUBER+SUHNER and EnBW / SMIGHT have continued to work together successfully and support the supply chain for market-ready products. The market penetration of the SMIGHT Base powercharger in the Smart City segment has been continuously increased.