"Ready for the future?," asked Kaché, marketing manager of Panasonic, after presenting the first charger using the EnergyBus standard in Hsinchu, Taiwan earlier this week. This new standard for electric components of light electric vehicles (LEVs) consists of a communication protocol and a connector set and is ready for implementation.
The Panasonic charger operates with the market-ripe, final version called Protocol 1.0. It is written in CAN open, and its plug is a core element in the upcoming EnergyBus connector set. Apart from the charger, a TD Hitech-built battery was presented at the EnergyBus workshop in Hsinchu Science Park on 13 March 2011.
Both battery and charger are built into the Impuls pedelec, which operates with EnergyBus components only. The two products are a milestone for EnergyBus, since they are the first products based on the EnergyBus standard to be used in serial production.
This might still turn out to be a historic moment for the whole LEV industry. Currently about 58 manufacturers of pedelecs build 99 brands with 73 different chargers. With EnergyBus, the latter number may well drop to one sometime in future.
Instead of every manufacturer being either dependent on the producers or forced into developing „standards“ on their own, investing a lot of time and money, a standard like EB offers the freedom to concentrate on what one does best - be it software, engines, batteries, human interfaces or vehicles.
EnergyBus is designed as an open standard. To get access to the full protocol and connector specifications one simply has to become a member of the association.
Workshop introducing Protocol 1.0 and products
The president of EnergyBus Dr. Mo-Hua Yang greeted the audience of the workshop enthusiastically, saying that the presentation is a „milestone in the history of EnergyBus and the LEV industry“.
The communication Protocol 1.0 itself was introduced by Holger Zeltwanger of CAN in Automation (CiA). Based on the machine language CAN open, the protocol defines the language and grammar EnergyBus-compatible components use. The protocol basically follows „rules of human communication“, Zeltwanger emphasized. Hence, it enables devices to talk and work together and rule out misunderstandings.
Practically, this means interoperability of all components that use, or so to say, „speak“ EnergyBus.
The Panasonic charger applies this protocol and comes with an additional USB port. The maximum current output is 7A with a power rating of 300W. At this rate, it charges a 10Ah/36V battery within 1,5 hours. Marketing manager of Panasonic Industries Europe, Kaché, further underlined the importance of a standard in the face of numerous plugs, that are „mechanically compatible, but not electrically compatible“ and regards this „a dangerous mix“.
The presented charging plug is magnetic, a feature often believed to be a Macintosh patent, but actually licensed and developed by Rosenberger. The connector comes with current ratings of 10, 30 or 50A and specified continuous power at a flex voltage of 12 to 48 V. It features two additional communication pins (total of four) as well as two pins for 12 V/2A assistance power lines. Mass production at Rosenberger is scheduled for April 2011. The specifications are open, however, so other EnergyBus members, such as Odu, Singatron and IMS, might follow suit.
The Swiss Impuls pedelec embodies the core of EnergyBus: effective innovation through cooperation. Three members (Panasonic for charger, TD Hitech for battery, Electragil for motor and sensor) pooled their efforts to put together a vehicle that operates with EnergyBus only. Gerry Schneider of Electragil reflects that „now (with the protocol defined) the decision to use EnergyBus pays off, because only now, we can move and apply new features incredibly fast."
EnergyBus is designed as an open standard, which means that anyone who becomes a member of the organization can use the EnergyBus specifications and network. Companies such as Bosch, Sanyo, Panasonic, Philips, BionX, Varta and more are already members of the non-profit association.
EnergyBus enables electric components to exchange energy as well as information, using only one connection. This means, that single components can easily be interchanged and therefore combined freely.
The EnergyBus Standard shall become for the LEV industry, i.e. manufacturers of e-scooters, pedelecs, e- bikes, what USB is for the IT industry. For the future of e-mobility, EBS is currently the only existing option for a public infrastructure, where vehicles of all manufacturers can be charged safely - using one connector standard.
The EnergyBus scope shall be widened in the future to cover not only LEVs, but bigger energy networks and devices.
>> Get connected on www.energybus.org
Copy: Nora Manthey
Picture: Max Neupert
16 March 2011