Examples of public charging infrastructure. From forbidden and dangerous to the solution of the future.
Public AC mains voltage sockets (110 – 240V) in the open air, into which the pedelec rider should plug his or her own charger so as to recharge the batteries. This solution is dangerous, because the supplied mains chargers are generally only designed and approved for use in dry conditions indoors. So they could become a danger to the users if there is a rain shower, and they could also fail.
Verdict: Utterly forbidden and dangerous!
>> Example 1
Charging at AC mains sockets in waterproof lockers which fulfil the requirements of “dry indoors”. Here the user can plug in the charger and battery, and then, once partially or fully charged, remove them.
This solution is legally fine, but of questionable practicality. First the bulky charger has to be carried along with the rider, and secondly, most of the chargers supplied with bikes only charge very slowly. So such stations make little sense for users who want to quickly top up.
If the lockers are located outside it is also worth remembering that most batteries should not be charged below 8 degrees Celsius so as to avoid damaging the cells.
Verdict: Legally OK, but of questionable practicality.
>> Example 2
Battery exchange in a closed hire system (pedelecs, batteries and chargers all belong to a single owner). The user can exchange batteries as they wish at any hire point, and this service is paid for by the flat rate hire fee.
Verdict: The simplest method that has proven itself to date and has been implemented countless times. However it only ever works as an ‘island solution’ and it permits no mixing of drive systems.
>> Example 3
Inductive stand charge systems, offered to date by only one supplier, offer a very userfriendly charging experience from the moment when the stand is placed on the inductive base plate. So far only possible for particular models. The disadvantage is that yet another electronic converter needs to be built into the bike, which can convert the energy received through inductance to a form which can be used to charge the batteries. When the pedelec is moved off the inductive base plate, charging stops. If ice or snow covers the induction base plate then the charging will be very slow if it works at all.
Verdict: An interesting technology for the future. This solution might be particularly suitable for companies with their own parking where locking of bikes is less important, but where speed of parking is more of a priority.
>> Example 4
Available from 2014, the ChargeLockCable standard, based on the EnergyBus connector and its communications protocol, combined with a lock. This makes it possible to secure the pedelec with the locking cable to the charging stand and almost as a side effect to charge the pedelec.
If the pedelec batteries are suitable for fast charging they could be charged at up to 50 A and 48 V nominal voltage. Charge speeds for 10 km range extension in 5 minutes are already achievable with today’s battery technology. If in addition cell heating elements are built into the battery pack it will also be possible to charge pedelec batteries in the open air in winter.
Verdict: A solution accessible to everyone, but only available from 2014. But you can still lay the ground today: when carrying out building works which are happening anyway, lay empty conduit to locations where a suitable cycle stand may be located.
>> Example 5
Translation: Peter Eland, prepared within the EU GoPedelec! project: GoPedelec! Handbook (German version), Go Pedelec! Handbook in Czech, Dutch, English, Hungarian, and Italian
Online release: Angela Budde
24 September 2012
Updated: 5 November 2012