De eerste taxi bij ingebruikname, Foto Universiteit Duisburg-Essen

It’s true of nearly all taxi ranks in the world; whether it’s a train station, the airport or a busy nightspot, there are always long lines of cabbies, all waiting to pick up a fare.

For most of those taxi drivers, it feels – apart from the chats with colleagues – like wasted time. Can’t that time be put to better use?” This is what researchers from the University of Duisburg-Essen thought.

Mühlheim

What about charging electricity? That’s also time-consuming. Why not charge electricity while you are waiting around? Although many taxi ranks already have charging stations for electric cars, these often do not meet the needs of the drivers. Apart from the hassle of cables, it can also cost drivers a spot in the queue.

Subscribe to IO on Telegram!

Want to be inspired 365 days per year? Here’s the opportunity. We offer you one "origin of innovation" a day in a compact Telegram message. Seven days a week, delivered around 8 p.m. CET. Straight from our newsroom. Subscribe here, it's free!

Subscribe!
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is fittosize__1220_0_fa5558685e82536664918a858e1adf21_talako_symbolbild-1004x258.png

So-called inductive, aka wireless charging, is more in line with their needs. The University of Duisburg-Essen has started a pilot project specifically for taxicabs for this reason. A first car is now driving around the streets of Mühlheim near Cologne. But the plans extend further. “If we electrify 5 percent of the 1,200 taxis in Cologne, we can already achieve a saving of 50,000 metric tons of co2 per year,” researcher Daniel Jaspers says.

70,000 euros each

According to the university, the city of Cologne is more than interested. The four taxis from the research project are being subsidized by Cologne to the tune of 12,000 euros each. Each prototype carries a price tag of 70,000 euros. In addition, space is being made available in the city for an inductive charging station. Preliminary results of the study are expected early next year. The hope is, of course, that a larger project can be started after that.

How does it work?

As mentioned, inductive charging does not require a cable. Instead, the current is transported via a magnetic field. To do this, an inductive charging cable (made of copper) must be installed underground. The same applies to the underside of the car, where the cable serves as a receiver.

A camera system in the taxi ensures that the car is positioned perfectly. Once that is achieved, then according to Jaspers, inductive charging is not much slower than by cable. A camera system in the taxi ensures that the car is positioned perfectly. “For each minute, about one kilometer of electrical power can be recharged. With an average waiting time at a station of approximately 45 minutes and a whole line of cab drivers, you then end up with a lot of kilometers per hour.”

Besides the University of Duisburg-Essen and the City of Cologne, the project is also supported by the University of Wuppertal, INTIS, RheinEnergie and TaxiRuf.

Realistic?

Innovation Origins wrote an article earlier this year about a stretch of charging highway in Italy. There are also experiments being conducted on roads in Germany and Scandinavia. However, others do not see much of a future in this type of large project and even consider it “out of touch with reality” owing to the high costs and enormous effort involved, what with roads needing to be broken up and thousands of kilometers of copper wire that need to be installed.

Support us!

Innovation Origins is an independent news platform that has an unconventional revenue model. We are sponsored by companies that support our mission: to spread the story of innovation. Read more.

At Innovation Origins, you can always read our articles for free. We want to keep it that way. Have you enjoyed our articles so much that you want support our mission? Then use the button below:

Doneer

Personal Info

About the author

Author profile picture Maurits Kuypers graduated as a macroeconomist from the University of Amsterdam, specialising in international work. He has been active as a journalist since 1997, first for 10 years on the editorial staff of Het Financieele Dagblad in Amsterdam, then as a freelance correspondent in Berlin and Central Europe. When it comes to technological innovations, he always has an eye for the financial feasibility of a project.