Technologies for electric vehicles – this is the shortest and the most accurate description about eCarTec. This time in Munich we see new exhibitors and products, but also missing car manufacturers...
The event is taking place in two of the New Expo Center halls, build on the old airport grounds. MunichExpo is the event organiser to which we owe special thanks for providing eCars.bg's team media passes to report from the event.
Outside between the two halls there's also a Live Drive track to test the available electric cars, but to get behind the wheel you usually need to wait a lot because of the high demand.
In 2014 we are visiting eCarTec as eCars.bg, but also as ReCluster.bg team – our cluster incorporates different companies which provide all kinds of EV tech as well as recycling systems and energy efficiency.
Despite having "car" in its name, eCarTec is much more of a components and tech solutions event – not like a typical auto show, but there's also cars in many of the exhibitors stands. That it's not a car show however is now more obvious than 2013, with some car manufacturers not taking part this year. Think Tesla and Mercedes-Benz...
But what puzzles us the most is why BMW is not here again. To miss such a big EV trade fair in your home town when you're in a process of heavy marketing your first EVs looks kind of odd to us.
At least there's now an i-corner at BMW Niederlassung on the other side of the city, which was not there when we paid a visit last year. And to our surprise we've discovered that BMW i3 seems to be the hit among eCarTec's exhibitors in 2014, with more than 6 or 7 stands having one branded to demonstrate different EV products or technologies.
Our impression (again) is that most of the exhibitors are demonstrating EV charging solutions including connectors, cables, stations and automated technologies. Seems also there are more Asian exhibitors than back in 2013, with some stands havind surprising array of products. Aisian components are traditionally (much) more price competitive than those coming from Germany, which however feel more robust and solid.
It's not that obvious to the public, but it's an event like eCarTec where you can see and feel how far ahead is electric mobility already now. Here one can find all kinds of EV products and solutions, including batteries and even an automated electric bus pantograph system.
One of our tasks along eCarTec is to try and test as much EVs as we can and this year we were hoping to get onboard the first modern mass electric minivan/light commercial vehicle – Nissan's e-NV200. The good news is that we've found one inside the event, and two more at the test track outside. The not so good news is that we can do a proper test drive around the city only once eCarTec comes to an end (as those vans here at the event are the only ones dealer has in stock).
Same situation with BMW i3. We were told it will be available for test outside along with e-golf on the second day, but even so the short test track is good enough for initial impressions only. At the starting day (Oct 21-st) there were only 2 LEAFs and 2 e-NV200's available. OK, there was also that odd looking right hand drive BMW i3 sporting Qualcomm stickers. Qualcomm is the company providing the EV wireless tech to BMW i3 and i8 as official Formula E vehicles.
Some components and products we've already seen last year, but there's also new pieces like AVL's Coup-e 800. It's a boosted voltage electric conversion of Mercedes-Benz C-Class operating at up to 800V across all system components. With this technology AVL aims to eliminate potential issues of continuous operation at over 100 kW in the system's components. You can take a look at this pdf for more information.
Another intersting novelty this year is the rising trend of car sharing with several exhibitors demonstrating such services and networks. In one of the corners, for example, we found a small and simple stand with one tablet, one info board and one (of the many here) BMW i3... Ah, and also a young guy who was just touching the car's window with an RFID card probably to demonstrate how it works.
We've collected a lot more impressions from eCarTec and we'll be blogging about it, but why don't you see our first set ot pictures and we'll be online soon again to share some test drive feedback. Thanks for being with us and please enjoy the pictures.