The city of Barcelona is undertaking a major change in the electric vehicle market, boasting the largest public network of charging points in Spain. eCharge4Drivers partners BSM, MOSAIC FACTOR and Silence have developed several services to improve the user experience before, during and after charging electric vehicles. Within this pilot site, several solutions and services have been tested, including smart charging, an enhanced booking service, a battery swapping service for electric scooters, and a charging point location tool.

Smart Charging

In the Barcelona demonstration site, BSM and CEA have participated in the development, deployment and validation of the Smart Charging system. This service enables users to allocate a time frame for charging to allow the Charge Point Operator (CPO) to minimise the peak power required while maximising night charging time. Tariffs in Barcelona offer cheaper fees at nighttime, hence users are incentivised to select a planned charging session, so that the algorithm can allocate the charging session at that time frame offering the lower prices. The main aim for the CPO is to distribute the charging sessions to optimise the power demand, so that the maximum power required does not exceed the one installed in the car park.

The Smart Charging EMS system developed as part of eCharge4Drivers was first tested in the laboratory and then deployed in nine charging points located at Porta de Sarrià car park. The smart charging system has been operational between March and July 2023.

The image below shows the user interface of the Smou app, which is used to start a smart charging session. The user can select either “planned charge” or “immediate charge”. If “planned charge” is selected, the user needs to fill in the time at which the vehicle will be available at the car park for charging as well as the amount of energy to be charged.

The smart charging pilot test showed the following positive outcomes:

  • 63 planned sessions between March and July 2023
  • 16,5 hours of charging flexibility per user
  • 9,27kWh of energy charged by flexible users
  • 0,31€ saved per charging session due to flexible charge (night charge)
  • 2,5 planned charging sessions on average done by same user
  • 60% of the users have a positive opinion of the service and think that it should be available in all the car park network.

Enhanced booking

 In addition, the Smou application offers an easy booking service to its users. The service is designed and developed to offer users short term reservations (e.g. < 20 min), based on real-time information. Users can select any available charging point (CP) and easily make a reservation. The CP is then blocked to any other user (it appears as occupied in the app) until the user reaches the station and starts charging. To guarantee the efficient use of the service for all users, no shows are penalised.

Battery swapping service

eCharge4Drivers partner Silence is ACCIONA’s brand of electric vehicles, a company that uses its own proprietary technology to develop zero-emission motorcycles and cars with swappable batteries. In the project, Silence has demonstrated the use of battery swapping systems in two BSM car parks (BSM Cotxeres de Sarrià and BSM Pl. Navas).

Silence electric scooters have a removable battery system, which allows users to swap a discharged battery for a fully charged battery at a battery station and resume their journey. The battery is swapped very quickly, in just one minute, which makes it the fastest charging system on the market currently available. When the driver detects a low charge level, they can use the Silence Battery Station app to locate the nearest battery swapping station and reserve a battery. At the Battery Station, the driver simply places the discharged battery in an available charging point and takes a fully charged battery.

Only four simple steps are needed to swap a battery:

The service began in May 2023 at BSM facilities and is still ongoing, showcasing an increasing number of swaps and of users with a battery subscription.

Charging Point Location Planning Tool for Electric Vehicles

The Charging Point Location Planning Tool (CP LPT) developed by Mosaic Factor, VUB, and ICOOR is intended to help public administrations and private players to plan the deployment of new charging infrastructure in countries, cities, and small towns. The tool is currently undergoing validation and testing in the Barcelona demonstration site.  This process is carried out in collaboration with Barcelona: Serveis Municipals (B:SM) and members of the Municipality of Barcelona. City planners have actively engaged with the tool, identifying potential upgrades. The findings are currently under analysis and the implementation of the improvements is in progress.