14. September 2023

eTaxi Austria: largest project based on automated charging of EVs in operation

A total of 66 e-taxis and more than 60 charging points are being equipped with the automated conductive Matrix Charging® technology.

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Matrix Charging eTaxi charging stands in Vienna © Mag.BarbaraLachner
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Vienna/Graz, 14 September 2023 –  The operational start of the new electric taxi stands lays the cornerstone for the roll-out of the eTaxi Austria project, which will point the way for the entire taxi industry. The first taxi stands in Austria equipped with Matrix Charging® went into operation on Vorgartenstrasse in Vienna and are in the process of implementation at Schillerplatz in Graz. To lower emissions and further improve quality of life in the city, Vienna and Graz will be increasingly shifting to electric taxis. A total of eight taxi stands and 56 vehicles in Vienna as well as two stands and ten vehicles in Graz are being upgraded by car service stations from Volkswagen and Hyundai with the Matrix Charging® technology, developed by the Austrian technology company Easelink. Watch the video.

Technology leap for the taxi industry

Instead of plugging an electric car into the charging station with a cable, these vehicles equipped with a connector on the underbody can be connected to a charging pad at the taxi stand with the push of a button. Thanks to automated charging directly at the taxi stands, the electric taxis are charged automatically, without the need to leave the vehicle or visit a dedicated charging station – an essential factor for ensuring smooth electric taxi operations. The first taxi stands have now been equipped with the technology, laying the cornerstone for roll-out of the project. The electric taxi drivers can make use of this infrastructure with two of the most modern electric vehicle models, the VW ID.4 and the Hyundai IONIQ 5. The eTaxi Austria project will run until the start of 2025. Efficiency, robustness, and the cost factor were the decisive factors by the cities of Vienna and Graz in the technology decision for Matrix Charging®. The conductive energy transfer has an efficiency of 99 % and the technology has significantly lower manufacturing costs than inductive charging systems.

We are very pleased to have worked alongside Vienna and Graz over the course of many years on converting the taxi fleets. Since 2013, the BMK has provided funding by means of various programs that has helped lay important groundwork in Vienna and Graz. This makes it all the more gratifying to witness this project based on innovative charging technology developed in Austria successfully positioning climate protection as an opportunity for the local economy.
General Secretary Herbert Kasser of the Federal Ministry for Climate Action, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology (BMK)
Matrix Charging eTaxi charging stands in Vienna © WKW/fotografiefetz
eTaxi charging with Matrix Charging at stand in Vienna © Mag.BarbaraLachner
eTaxi Austria project partners Graz from left right: Hermann Stockinger (Easelink), Judith Schwentner (Vice Mayor Graz), Werner Ressi (Energie Graz), Boris Papousek (Energie Graz), Peter Lackner (WKO Steiermark), Sylvia Loibner (Taxi 878), Elke Kahr (Mayor Graz), Robert Schmied (Grazer Energieagentur) © Stadt Graz / Fischer

Hermann Stockinger, Founder & CEO of Easelink: “The eTaxi Austria project utilizing Matrix Charging technology in the cities of Vienna and Graz is the world’s largest e-mobility project focused on automated charging. Together with over 30 partners, we are not only overcoming the central hurdle to barrier-free charging infrastructure in the urban environment, we are also demonstrating international technology leadership with this pioneering project.”

Peter Hanke, Vienna City Councilor for Finance and the Economy: “Taxis are an important element of the transportation landscape in Vienna. With eTaxi Austria, we are playing a part in the transition to an electric taxi fleet in Vienna, which will benefit the entire city and its residents. The unobtrusive charging pads embedded in the ground pose no barriers to movement and simultaneously point the way towards the electrification of Vienna’s taxi fleets.”

An industry in transformation

As of 2025, only emission-free vehicles will be authorised for taxi operations in Austria. The Austrian Chamber of Commerce and Industry wishes to support the taxi operators in managing this transition and sees potential for other industries as well. “The taxi industry in Vienna actively engages in innovative projects and is aware of its responsibility in connection with climate protection. Automated charging directly at the taxi stand will allow taxi drivers to conveniently charge their electric vehicles while waiting. In this way, the business sector once again demonstrates that innovation is the right path to greater climate protection,” says Walter Ruck, President of the Vienna Economic Chamber.

In the respective cities, Wien Energie & Energie Graz are the installer and operator of the charging infrastructure and will be supplying 100 percent green electricity for charging the electric taxis. The green electricity can be distributed among the vehicles based on actual demand by means of the intelligent load management system. A single taxi can be charged with up to 11 kW of alternating current (AC).

Bernd Vogl, General Director of Climate and Energy Fund: With the eTaxi project, Vienna and Graz have succeeded in bringing e-mobility into the daily experience of the population. I congratulate the project team on the successful implementation, and I am convinced that the project will deliver valuable experience for the roll-out in Vienna and Graz as well as in other cities.”

We need innovative approaches to accomplish the mobility transition. Electromobility is a key factor in individual transportation, and taxis face particular challenges here. With this charging technology, eTaxis will be able to conveniently recharge with green electricity while waiting at the taxi stand. That is good for the environment and practical for the taxi drivers.
Michael Strebl, Chairman of the Wien Energie Board of Management

About the technology: 100 percent barrier-free plus value creation in Austria

In addition to increasing the robustness of the charging pads for use in public spaces, electronic switch cabinet components have been integrated into the new pad generation. This means that the taxi stands get by entirely without above-ground switch cabinets or columns. The eTaxi Austria project makes use of the newest generation of the Matrix Charging® technology, which was developed in cooperation with Austrian partners and with a high level of value creation in Austria.

Project partners

In addition to the project consortium, consisting of the Economic Chambers of Vienna and Styria, Wien Energie and Energie Graz, Easelink, Grazer Energieagentur, Taxi 40100 and Taxi 31300 as well as vibe moves you, Quintessenz and tbw research as research director, many other Austrian partners contributed to making this project a reality. The cities of Vienna and Graz, Taxi 878, the ÖAMTC as well as Hyundai and Porsche Inter Auto are supporting the project. The implementation partners for the Matrix Charging® technology also include Bossard Austria, Becom, Hug Technik & Sicherheit, Faigle Industrieplast, Löscher Elektronik, Iskra, Polytec Holding, Zern and Zettler electronics.

The project is being funded by the Climate and Energy Fund as part of the “Zero Emission Mobility Implementation” program. It will last until the start of 2025 and should serve as the basis for further mobility transformations. The city of Graz is additionally supporting the project implementation in Graz.

More information about the project can be found at www.etaxi-austria.at

Easelink is a high-tech company headquartered in Graz, Austria, and dedicated to development of the automated conductive charging solution “Matrix Charging®” for electric vehicles. The innovative character of Easelink can be seen in its many patents and trademarks. Easelink, with sites in Austria and China, currently has 45 employees and actively contributes to various standardization bodies for charging technology, such as the relevant working groups of the Charging Interface Initiative (CharIn), the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). Within the framework of cooperative projects, a number of leading automotive manufacturers and suppliers, infrastructure providers and vehicle fleet operators are already making use already of the innovative Matrix Charging® technology.

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