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Rheinmetall, together with the municipality of Nörvenich and Westenergie AG, is launching another pilot project for innovative loading curbs in public spaces

Rheinmetall is launching another pilot project for innovative loading curbs

The Rheinmetall Group, together with the municipality of Nörvenich as the initiator and Westenergie AG as the energy service provider and infrastructure provider, is starting a pilot project to test loading curbs in the municipality’s public traffic areas. The aim of the project is to integrate and pilot the loading curbs developed by Rheinmetall at two different locations. The community is located in the catchment area of ​​the Cologne metropolitan area and is rural with around 12,000 inhabitants. After Rheinmetall and the project partners recently signed a corresponding pilot contract, representatives of all project partners came together in Nörvenich for the official starting signal on April 29, 2024.

The pilot project follows seamlessly on from the recent roll-out of the first loading curbs in the Cologne metropolitan area. Cities with high population densities are known to face challenges such as low space availability, urban planning restrictions and high parking pressure, but similar problems occur in small communities – especially in areas characterized by multi-family houses. There, too, remaining sidewalk widths, visual axes, supply lines in the sidewalk as well as architectural monument issues must be taken into account during planning and implementation, which often makes locations impossible or unattractive from a cost perspective. Ambitious climate protection goals as well as the role of the key player assigned by the federal government for the expansion of public charging infrastructure pose challenges for smaller communities. Simple and widely available charging infrastructure addresses these challenges and ensures the long-term attractiveness of the community for residents.

The integration of the electronic module into a curb uses existing infrastructure and thus enables the installation of charging infrastructure even where no charging station could normally be installed. Christoph Müller, Division Manager Power Systems: “We are very pleased that the municipality of Nörvenich has recognized the advantages of our solution and has set a lot in motion to be among the first to be able to pilot the systems in public spaces. Our loading curbs, which fit almost invisibly into the streetscape, help to solve a major problem of the transformation towards more e-mobility on a broad basis. Charging infrastructure must be available to everyone across the board, easily and reliably.”

Dr. Timo Czech, mayor of the municipality of Nörvenich, shows why the innovative charging concept is a sensible solution for different locations, supported by the desire as a modern and open-minded municipality to proactively shape the mobility transition: “Especially for people in apartments or single-family homes without their own parking spaces Getting started with electromobility is often difficult. They cannot attach a wallbox nor are they allowed to lay a cable across the sidewalk to charge their vehicle. This is exactly where the Rheinmetall charging curb is an ideal solution because it offers charging options directly at the parking space in public spaces, without the usual charging station having to find space on the sidewalk and further restricting the space for pedestrians.”

Dr. Timo Czech had expressed his interest in the charging solution early on and agreed to make his municipality available for a pilot test. His partner was Westenergie Metering, which already operates more than 1,700 charging points. And Rheinmetall was also looking for exactly such partners: a company with experience in the area of ​​charging infrastructure and a municipality that makes it possible to test charging in public spaces.

The municipality and Westenergie worked together to look for suitable areas in the municipality that, on the one hand, are highly frequented and, on the other hand, have the necessary network infrastructure. Two locations were selected: in Eschweiler via Feld on Heribertstrasse and in Nörvenich on Ubierstrasse. The Düren civil engineering company Lück undWahlen carried out the necessary connection and civil engineering work for the project in a very short time.

Dr. Stefan Küppers, Chief Technology Officer at Westenergie, explained: “The expansion of electromobility also requires new, innovative solutions that take into account the different local conditions and the needs of citizens. In addition to the classic charging points, loading curbs are now a useful addition. We managed to implement the project in a very short time – thanks to the municipality of Nörvenich, the project partners and a good dose of pragmatism.”

In the coming years, rural areas will face a variety of challenges, just like growing metropolises: climate change and climate protection, mobility, economic change and digitalization. The public charging infrastructure plays a key role in the mobility transition: comprehensive charging options are an essential prerequisite for switching to electromobility. The Federal Government’s ambitious goal of 15 million electric cars by 2030 can only be achieved with appropriate expansion. This requires around 1 million public charging points in Germany to enable people without their own parking and charging facilities to switch to low-emission electromobility.

The fast, flexibly scalable and cost-effective installation of freely accessible, public charging points is crucial for this. The solution developed by Rheinmetall therefore relies on the intelligent use of existing urban infrastructure and offers electric car drivers charging with up to 22kW. The charging curb is therefore an ideal complement to conventional charging stations in public spaces. The robust solution can be installed almost without restriction across the board and can therefore also be scaled, which is of crucial importance for infrastructure providers such as Westenergie: This means that reliable charging infrastructure can be offered across a wide area and can also be used where a charging station cannot be provided.

Safety is a top priority at Rheinmetall: the systems were subjected to extensive testing before they are now to be used in public spaces as part of another pilot project. With the solution developed, Rheinmetall is making an important contribution to the mobility transition and taking responsibility for a future worth living.

SOURCE: Rheinmetall

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