chargeBIG is one of the projects we had the pleasure to help accelerate during MAHLE’s incubator, and it again deserves a big applause for winning the prestigious German Innovation Award 2020. Just slightly over a year ago, we congratulated the team behind chargeBIG for winning an important contract with Stuttgart Airport for a smart charging system for electric vehicles with 110 charging stations. Since then, chargeBIG has also installed its innovative e-charging system at the “Landesbank Baden-Württemberg” bank (LBBW). This year’s award confirms that this corporate startup by MAHLE is rocking the e-mobility world with an innovation that, in the words of the award’s jury, offers a “major step on the road to e-mobility”.
The critical innovation in chargeBIG’s solution is the “intelligence” of the proposed charging infrastructure, leading to enormous benefits in terms of installation, maintenance and overall cost of charging large fleets of electric vehicles. When many were exploring the path of faster-but-highly-expensive solutions, chargeBIG bet was on a smart control unit with a capacity up to 7.2 kW and with fixed charging cables distributed around at a car park. This smart charging concept can thus be integrated cost-effectively and easily in existing infrastructure (e.g., no need to invest in expanding the gird connection, resulting in significant cost and time savings during installation). Moreover, the distribution of available charging capacity is also done intelligently. The central control unit manages and distributes the available charging capacity using a dynamic model that optimizes load management to charge e-vehicles as fast as possible, but not faster than needed, resulting also in important savings during ongoing operation.
chargeBIG’s smart and lean approach was the key for chargeBIG to win this important award. Specifically, a critical pain point in e-mobility is the insufficient charging infrastructure and costly installation and operation of such infrastructure. chargeBIG’s clever catch was to detect that many cars and fleets sit in a parking space all day and that such movements are easily predictable (e.g., long-term parking in airports). Hence, the system can charge such cars in a slower and less costly manner, which lead the award jury to conclude that chargeBIG offers “a strong system that makes optimal use of existing resources and is comparably economical and therefore makes an important contribution on the path to electromobility”.
This is a great accomplishment by chargeBIG’s team, so our team at MTI² would like to send a warm congrats to Sebastian Ewert, Nicole Heinrich and the whole team we met and coached during MAHLE’s incubator. From our side, at MTI², we are also very proud of having played a role in the early stages of chargeBIG during MAHLE’s incubator.