Electric Dreams: Providing smart cities with SMIGHT Base powercharger
With more than 100 years of experience, EnBW is a leading household provider of electrical utilities across Germany. Recently, EnBW pooled its century-long know-how together to create a new innovative start-up, SMIGHT, which combines lighting, sensors, e-mobility and public WLAN to create an offering which truly visualises what a Smart City can look like. Across Germany, Switzerland, Norway and Australia, SMIGHT’s offering includes solutions which support Public Wi-Fi, electric vehicles and web interfacing. Recently, SMIGHT realised a new solution, the base Powercharger, which is specifically designed to accommodate the growing trend towards e-mobility.
With estimates by Bloomberg that 54 percent of all new car sales will be for electric vehicles (EVs) by 2040, the age of e-mobility and entries of the EV revolution into the history books are imminent. Cheaper to run, better for the environment and boasting public health credentials, the rise of the EV is fuelling production and sales. As the number of EV drivers increases, so too does the need for convenient charging locations, which led SMIGHT to develop a new solution to provide smart charging and make electric cars even more convenient and cable of transporting the driver from A to B, hassle-free.
Convenience is key
SMIGHT has developed the base Powercharger to provide a comprehensive and intelligent charging option that can be integrated into any fitting location. As a charging station is a mandatory accessory for EVs, SMIGHT recognised that the charger had to be able to stand the test of time against environmental conditions such as winds, floods and lightning. Vandalism is another issue plaguing EV stations, so the antenna solution for the Powercharger had to be vandalism-proof to further encourage people to use the station. Other requirements included the ability to enable a quick and easy installation process and for the antenna to be small, unobtrusive and specifically designed for outdoor use.
Due to its precise requirements, SMIGHT selected HUBER+SUHNER to provide its SENCITY® Omni-S MIMO antennas for the Powercharger, as it can be configured to specific needs, protects against vandalism, and is particularly designed for outdoor and indoor applications. The decision was cemented after HUBER+SUHNER produced prototypes of the solution in a quick turnaround for electrical test to be conducted due to environment requirements. The customised solution now incorporates not only a radiator for cellular/LTE band but also two Wi-Fi dual-band radiators to guarantee free, public WLAN for the base Powercharger user.
Battling against time
The project was not without its challenges, with the necessary antenna pigtail length being changed twice during the project preparation phase before commercial series production began. Along with this, the electrical testing of software simulation on physical prototypes had to be achieved in a short timeframe. HUBER+SUHNER tackled these challenges successfully, due to its Research + Development antenna team working in record-time to perform simulations, design the technology and order an initial quantity of samples for verification and testing.
The customization and always-on support by HUBER+SUHNER, coupled with its close co-operation with SMIGHT made the project a complete success. Benefits include the antenna meeting environmental requirements following rigorous qualification tests for vibrations and mechanical shock, ensuring the technology would stand the test of time in the event of an earthquake and other natural disasters. Vandalism worries were also abolished, due to the characteristics of the solution, and users can quickly and efficiently charge their electric vehicles with the features of the antenna.
Due to the SENCITY Omni-S MIMO antenna, consumers of the base Powercharger can also benefit from quick and easy charging, public Wi-Fi, environmental sensors and emergency communication support, with an SOS button installed. The project puts the world one step closer to complete EV adoption, providing access in locations where charging stations were previously not available.
Fit and functional
As an added benefit to HUBER+SUHNER customers, the Omni-S antenna variant configurator has been updated in order to include the radiator combinations as developed for the project, allowing all customers to purchase the configured antenna.
The project commenced following early discussions in late 2015, with the initial request for quotation taking place in 2016 to specify customer requirements and create the required solution within a short time frame. Early 2017, the initial purchase order for the antennas was issued by the customer, needed for market introduction of the SMIGHT Base powercharger throughout the same year.
Since 2018, the partnership has continued to thrive, with HUBER+SUHNER working with EnBW / SMIGHT to support customer’s mature volume supply chain. This has since enabled to consistently increase Smart City market penetration of the SMIGHT Base powercharger.