Issue 14, May 2011
bulletE-Mobility Made in Germany  
bulletInnovation: Brain-Powered Car
bulletInterview: Ralph Griewing, Head of Electromobility Activities, Siemens Energy
bulletFrom Test Lab to Model City - Berlin Agency for Electromobility
bulletBMW i - A New Approach to Future Mobility
bulletEmission-Free Driving - A New Mercedes-Benz Experience
article1E-Mobility - Fahrvergnügen Made in Germany
This year marks the 125th anniversary of the automobile, which was born on January 29, 1886, when Carl Benz registered his "Motorwagen No. 1" at the Berlin Patent Office. German cars have fueled the desire for human mobility ever since and are famous for their quality, precision, and design. In view of dwindling resources, rising gas prices, and the growing impact of climate change, the German automotive tradition is shifting from internal combustion engines towards battery-powered vehicles and e-cars.
On May 16, 2011, Germany's federal government launched a new program to boost e-mobility in the country. The program stems from the National Platform for Electromobility (NPE). With the goal of one million electric vehicles on German streets by 2020, the government will double its funding for research and development of electric vehicles. Tax rebates and dedicated parking spaces are additional incentives in the bid to lure consumers towards zero-emission technology.
This issue of E-NNOVATION GERMANY starts a three-issue mobility series. Next month's topic will be aviation & aeronautics, followed in July by an issue on aerospace. Beginning today, you can also follow the GCRI on Twitter, where we will post information and updates on the German research and innovation landscape. Inspired by our newsletters' monthly topics, the GCRI-Team tweets about news and trends in German science, technology, and society. To follow us, click here.

Brain Driver
article2Innovation: Brain-Powered Car

After using an iPhone, an iPad, and an eye-tracking device, AutoNOMOS-Labs, a Berlin-based project, has found yet another way to maneuver its (usually completely) computer-controlled vehicle. "MadeInGermany," the autonomous car, now also relies on brain power.

The commercial Emotiv Epoc EEG (electroencephalogram) headset requires a few rounds of mental training. "We thought if someone can use the headset to play a computer game - we can make it work with a car," explained a scientist of Freie Universitaet Berlin. The wireless neuro-headset measures and interprets bioelectric signals as patterns. These patterns are then associated with different commands, e.g. left or right. A software interface communicates with the on-board Drive-by-Wire system of the car, transforming the messages into actuation, like steering or acceleration. Test drives have shown only a slight delay between mental command and vehicular execution.

The work of AutoNOMOS-Labs points to the huge potential human-machine interfaces offer in autonomous driving as well as applications for the physically handicapped. Integrating the driver's mental decisions at certain points (e.g. at an intersection) could highly individualize routing in autonomous-car travel or control future electric wheelchairs. Funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, the project is part of the German High-Tech Strategy's ForMat program to examine intelligent forms of mobility and develop promising applications. For videos and more information, click here.


Ralph Griewing
article3Interview: Ralph Griewing, Head of Electromobility Activities, Siemens Energy

On March 31, 2011, the European Commission launched the Green eMotion Initiative to promote electromobility in Europe. Forty-two partners including industrial companies, automobile manufacturers, utilities, municipalities, universities, and technology and research institutions, will share their knowledge and expertise on e-mobility. As the lead company in the Green eMotion research consortium, Siemens will contribute to the development of software and infrastructure solutions, and to the establishment of industrial standards.
The GCRI spoke with Ralph Griewing, Head of Electromobility Activities at Siemens Energy, about this new Green eMotion Initiative. In addition, Mr. Griewing speaks about the German government's goal of having one million e-cars on German streets by 2020; the role of smart grid in developing new infrastructures, and the differences between plug-in e-cars versus hybrids or hydrogen fuel vehicles. To watch a video of Mr. Griewing discussing some of the aforementioned topics, click here.
A graduate of theoretical electrical engineering at the University of Siegen and the Georgia Tech Research Institute, Ralph Griewing started his career at Siemens AG in 1991 in the company's Communications Systems group. Since March 2010 he has been in charge of setting up global electromobility business at Siemens AG, where he has executive responsibility for planning, production, marketing & sales, and project planning in the U.S., China, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. To read the full interview, click here


eMo car

article4From Test Lab to Model City
eMo - Berlin Agency for Electromobility

From the new generation of transmission-integrated electric engines in the 2012 Mercedes-Benz hybrid to the development of new batteries from companies like BAE and Continental, there are more practical electromobility projects in Berlin than in most other German cities. With the goal of making Berlin the top German market and supplier for electromobility as Germany itself becomes a global market leader, eMO, the Berlin Agency for Electromobility, intends to transform this city from test lab to epicenter.
As part of the Berlin senate's "Industrial City Berlin 2010-2020" program, eMO serves as a milestone on the city's road to becoming the capital green economy. Combining the competencies of science, industry and politics in the German capital region, the agency works to coordinate and encourage the development of the entire value chain for electric vehicles - including research, development, production, testing and application.
eMO is involved in multiple projects across Berlin that connect the city's unique concentration of university and non-university institutions with transport and mobility research. Current project goals include the integration of electric car fleets into public transportation, analysis of the acoustic effects on the environment of electric and fuel cell vehicles, and increasing the number of charging stations in Berlin to a total of 500, the largest of such networks in Germany. To learn more about eMO please click here.  

Picture: ©Berlin Partner GmbH/Dirk Lässig


article5BMW i - A New Approach to Future Mobility

Launched this February, BMW i, the BMW Group's new sub-brand, focuses on urban mobility. BMWi has developed two 2013 car models - the BMW i3 and the BMW i8 - to be manufactured in Leipzig, along with BMW i Ventures, a holding company founded in New York City with a total investment of 100 million US dollars. The all-electric i3, formerly known as the Megacity Vehicle, and the plug-in hybrid i8 were designed in response to high customer demand. Both models involve the LifeDrive construction concept, combining novel architecture with lightweight carbon fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP) to nearly cancel out battery weight and increase range. In order to mass-produce the vehicles efficiently, around 400 million euros will be invested in new plant facilities in Leipzig, creating approximately 800 jobs by 2013.
In addition to sustainable technology, BMW i will introduce innovative applications through car-independent premium mobility services. The customized mobility solutions for smartphone applications will include traffic, parking, and real-time information. Bringing together more than 50 local mobility apps in one interface, the iPhone app MyCityWay is now available for 40 cities worldwide, including New York and San Francisco in the U.S. For more information, visit


article6Emission-Free Driving - A New Mercedes-Benz Experience

The Mercedes-Benz B-Class F-CELL, the first publicly available zero-emission Mercedes vehicle, was delivered to its first U.S. customer on December 14, 2010. Its owner, Mr. Vance Van Petten, upon taking possession of the keys, said, "As a long-time environmental advocate and supporter of eco-friendly transport, I'm thrilled to be driving a vehicle that I believe represents the future of environmentally thoughtful transportation - not only does it have zero emissions, but I also have room for three passengers and luggage, plus all of the safety technology one would expect from Mercedes-Benz."  
Mr. Van Petten, Executive Director of the Producers Guild of America, is part of a select group of people who have had the opportunity to lease the F-CELL.
The F-CELL is based on the B-Class body, and is powered by an electric motor with 134 horsepower and 215 pound-foot of torque. Instead of the need to charge the vehicle for hours, the electricity is produced on board in a fuel cell stack, through a chemical reaction between hydrogen and oxygen, with no combustion and an average fueling time of only three minutes. This is one of the many Mercedes-Benz initiatives that focus on the realization of e-mobility in the near future. For more information, click here.