On July 15th 2011 the Flemish Government approved five living-lab platforms within the Flemish Living Lab Electric Vehicles.
The Flemish government, on initiative of Minister of Innovation Ingrid Lieten, launched the Living Lab Electric Vehicles program to facilitate and accelerate the innovation and adoption of electric vehicles in the Flemish region. A call for proposals was launched with the aim of setting up a structured real-life environment in which EV-related innovations can be tested by representative end users in their own living and working environments. Five different platforms have been approved with a total funding of 16,25 m€.
E-mobility is changing the value chain in the automotive sector completely. Lots of new stakeholders from different sectors (automotive, energy, mobility) need to work together. Not only industry but also governments, cities, sector federations, universities and research companies have to work together to look for the most valuable new concepts and innovations in e-mobility. The Flemish Living Lab Electric Vehicles is a good example of such a collaboration. In total, more than 70 companies, organizations and research partners are working together.
An overview of the 5 platforms (2011-2014) :
- EVA (Electric Vehicles in Action): The platform, under the coordination of Eandis, is designed as a representative large-scale charging infrastructure platform with more than 200 charging stations spread out over 80% of the Flemish region (semi-public and public domain). A lot of municipalities are participating because of the significant impact on the public domain. A wide range of electric vehicles (161 vehicles of different brands and types) will be monitored to study user behavior. Other topics to be studied : geographical coverage needed for public charging stations, the impact on the grid, easiest way to charge fees to the user, ….
- EVTecLab: The platform, under the coordination of Punch Powertrain, is a consortium of ten Flemish companies and research institutions and will focus on new technologies for electric heavy-duty vehicles like vans (Ford Connects made by Punch Powertrain), trucks (made by E-Trucks) and buses (made by Van Hool). The vehicles will be used for freight and public transport in daily operation.
- iMOVE: The platform, coordinated by Umicore, is a consortium of eighteen Flemish companies and research institutions and aims for a breakthrough of electric vehicles and sustainable mobility. A large test population (in companies but also residential) will use 175 electric vehicles and 180 charging stations in daily use for three years. The innovation projects will focus on three main themes: renewable energy and smart grids, new battery and vehicle technology and mobility behavior.
- Olympus: The platform, coordinated by railway operator NMBS Holding, is a meeting place for the various players in the field of sustainable mobility, where information and knowledge in the field of travel behavior, green technology and smart electricity grids are exchanged with the purpose to promote and improve the technology. As a provider of transport solutions the NMBS Holding can be the engine of networked mobility, where different modes of transport (bicycle, car, public transport, ...) seamlessly connected.
- Volt-Air: The platform, coordinated by Siemens Belgium, aims to support innovations to integrate electric vehicles in company fleets and local micro-grids. The Volt-Air platform consists of three sublabs linked together through a common data platform for data exchange. There is the micro-grid lab on the Siemens site in Huizingen, focusing on smart micro-grids integrating EV and renewable energy sources. The EV lab at Volvo Cars Ghent consists of electric Volvo C30’s fitted with equipment for logging technical data. The users lab in Kortrijk, finally, consists of a pool of about 60 electric vehicles from Westlease which will be used by local companies in their daily fleets and will experiment with new business models.