The family of the future drives Mercedes-Benz and smart


To coincide with their arrival, yesterday the new residents of the “Effizienzhaus-Plus mit Elektromobilität“ were given a smart fortwo electric drive and a Mercedes-Benz A-Class E-CELL. For the next three months the family of four will therefore be able to get around using the battery-electric vehicles without producing any emissions at all.

Mercedes-Benz and Smart

Among other things the project serves to field test state-of-the-art technologies, and this is why the vehicles will use the intelligent charging function “Smart Charge Communication” and an inductive charging option.

Combining zero-emission living and driving with an integrated approach that is suitable for everyday use sounds like a far-off vision of the future. But for the Welke-Wiechers family it will become reality in the next 15 months. Yesterday the family moved into the “Effizienzhaus-Plus mit Elektromobilität“, financed by the Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Affairs (BMVBS), which generates more regenerative electricity than it consumes. In line with the project title “My house, my filling station” this surplus energy will be used to charge electric vehicles.

In order to perfectly coordinate the energy generated by the house and the energy needed for the electric vehicles Daimler has equipped the second generation smart fortwo electric drive and the A-Class E-CELL with the intelligent charge management system “Smart Charge Communication” (SCC). Via the vehicle homepage, a website specially programmed for the electric vehicles, the family can monitor and manage the charging process at all times. Furthermore, with the A-Class E-CELL Daimler is also testing the suitability of inductive charging for everyday use.

Intelligent charge management with “Smart Charge Communication”

As the amount of electricity generated by regeneration is subject to certain fluctuations, the interaction between the efficiency house and electric mobility calls for intelligent energy management. Thanks to “Smart Charge Communication” the house and the vehicles can “communicate” with one another and in this way adjust the charging process to the availability of electricity. Data is exchanged via a power line connection established with the charging cable. An interface receives data on the amount of electricity available from the energy management system installed in the house. At the same time, as soon as it is connected to a charging station the vehicle transmits information on the current state of charge and the planned departure time, both of which can be entered via the vehicle homepage or directly in the car. This information is used to calculate which consumers must be supplied preferentially with electricity. The technology also enables several vehicles to be connected without overloading the building connection.

When used by private customers who do not generate their own electricity, the SCC function can adjust the charging process to the electricity price and the availability of “green” electricity depending on the departure time. If the vehicle is charged at a public charging station, the energy costs can also be automatically settled via SCC. The technology has long since passed the research stage. Smart Charge Communication will be integrated as a standard feature in the third generation smart fortwo electric drive, which will be launched on the German market in June of this year. Every customer with a wallbox with a power line connection will then be able to use this function.

The vehicle homepage: all the data at a glance

The most important vehicle data can be called up at any time via the vehicle homepage from a computer or whilst out and about from a smartphone with a corresponding app. The simple and clear menu structure gives a quick overview of the current state of charge and the vehicle range, and also shows the remaining charging time. What’s more, charging stations in the vicinity can be displayed. The charging process can also be monitored and the planned departure time can be reset at any time. In addition, in order to conserve the battery during the journey the vehicle can be pre-climatised to a pleasant interior temperature. The vehicle homepage for the 3rd generation smart fortwo electric drive can additionally be used for route planning. As with SCC, a power line connection is a prerequisite for using the vehicle homepage.

In the “Effizienzhaus-Plus“, the family can also display the vehicle homepage on the LCD monitors in the house and select all functions from here.

Inductive charging

Instead of cable contact, with inductive charging the car is simply positioned above a charging coil installed in the floor. The electronics sense the charging coil and then start the charging process fully automatically. Daimler and Conductix-Wampfler tested this technology for the first time in a project funded by the Federal Ministry for the Environment. The modified A-Class E-CELL, which will be used in the “Effizienzhaus-Plus“, can be charged either with a plug or inductively via a magnetic coil in the floor. The automatic activation of the charging process and an assistance system which assists in parking precisely above the charging coil, guarantee the operating convenience expected from Mercedes-Benz.

Brief description of the “Effizienzhaus-Plus mit Elektromobilität”

Within the framework of construction and electric mobility research the Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Affairs (BMVBS) has built a 130m2 family home in Fasanenstraße 87 in Berlin-Charlottenburg, which produces twice as much energy as it uses. The aim of this habitable prototype is to demonstrate that the energy produced by the house can also be used for a family’s mobility needs. For this the five car manufacturers Audi, BMW, Daimler, Opel and VW are each providing the test family with electric vehicles for a three month period.

The model project in Berlin combines innovative developments already on the market from the construction and automotive industries and is equipped with state-of-the-art photovoltaics and energy management technology. The project is fully recyclable. In addition to its showcase function for collaborative innovative development of construction and vehicle technology it is also a test laboratory for modern energy management. The “Effizienzhaus-Plus“ is subject to intensive scientific monitoring. The research findings obtained will be made available for the construction of such innovative buildings on a broad scale and the further development of technical systems.

From March 2012 a family selected via a public application process will live in the house for 15 months. The day-to-day life of the test family will also be used to examine the interfaces between man and technology and various research projects will be carried out on the house.