It is not the technology itself but acceptance of it by the general public that is stopping electromobility from becoming more widespread. The joint research project CODIFeY has been set up to deal with this. Its goal is to provide explanations and expert information about electromobility and to encourage more people to use it. Furthermore, with the support of researchers at FAU, the project will develop and implement innovative services related to various aspects of e-mobility.
It seems that the Germans are sceptical of this technology. Only around 20,000 electric cars are currently on Germany’s roads and only a very small number of them are private vehicles. Not many, considering the German government’s target of at least one million electric cars by the year 2020. ‘When we consider potential users, there is still a lack of knowledge and experience, as well as acceptance problems,’ explains Prof. Kathrin M. Möslein, Chair of Information Systems I at FAU. ‘More than half of the potential customers currently still say ‘no’ to buying a new vehicle with an electric motor.’
Widespread uncertainty and lack of knowledge
Various privately and publicly-funded projects are carrying out intense research and development, and are providing manufacturers, energy providers and communication companies with a variety of solutions. However, very little of this reaches the average consumer. Society recognises that electromobility is a fascinating technology but there is widespread uncertainty and a lack of knowledge about it. Many people are not aware of the possibilities that the technology has to offer. They wonder how exactly electric cars are charged or how to estimate how far they can go – essentially, how safe and reliable electromobility is and whether it is suitable for everyday use.
An innovative approach to increasing electromobility
The joint research project CODIFeY (Community-basierte Dienstleistungs-Innovation für e-Mobility – community-based services innovation for e-mobility) led by Prof. Kathrin M. Möslein (FAU) and Prof. Barbara Dinter, Chair of Business Information Systems I at TU Chemnitz, has been set up to create enthusiasm for electric cars among the general public and to increase the number of the users in a sustainable way. The project will run for three years and is being funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). ‘At CODIFeY we have set ourselves the goal of winning over new, committed users of electromobility,’ says Prof. Kathrin M. Möslein. The researchers are taking a two-pronged approach, aiming to create interest in electromobility among non-users while also mobilising people who are already using electric cars. ‘Our idea is not to simply provide technical arguments but to draw people’s attention to the social aspects in particular,’ the FAU researcher explains.
An interconnected three-step model
For this reason, the researchers are creating an interactive online community as a mobilisation platform and are following an interconnected three-step model. The first step involves pooling knowledge in order to overcome the lack of information. To do this the researchers are developing a wide variety of teaching and learning materials on the subject of electromobility and its sustainability potential, and making it available in an interactive portal. The second area of focus is services innovation, where the goal is to develop innovative electromobility services which will later be put into practice. Members of the public who are interested will be invited to participate in user-friendly innovation processes and put forward their ideas and expectations. In this way, people’s needs with regard to e-mobility will be taken into account, increasing market potential. Finally, the activities will be evaluated in step three, community analytics.
‘With CODIFeY we want do our bit to contribute to the success of electromobility by changing the way people think,’ says Prof. Kathrin M. Möslein. The online platform will be available across Germany in order to attract a large number of members. The Nuremberg Metropolitan Region will be used as a model region and will be at the centre of the project.
Teams at three FAU chairs are involved in CODIFeY: the Chair of Information Systems I (Prof. Dr. Kathrin M. Möslein), the Chair of Marketing (Prof. Dr. Andreas Fürst) and the Chair of Corporate Sustainability Management (Prof. Dr. Markus Beckmann). FAU’s research partners for the project are a team at TU Chemnitz (led by Prof. Dr. Barbara Dinter) and the Supply Chain Services working group (led by Dr. Frank Danzinger) at the Erlangen-based Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits (IIS). The project’s industrial partners are ENERGIEregion Nürnberg e.V., chemmedia AG and HYVE Innovation Community GmbH. The researchers are also working with ADAC Nord-Bayern e.V., Energie Campus Nürnberg, Erlanger Stadtwerke AG, infra fürth, the city of Nuremberg and Bundesverband CarSharing e.V.
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