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INteractive CHarging

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - INCH (INteractive CHarging)

Reporting period: 2014-09-01 to 2015-02-28

The present Deliverable D1.1 Feasibility study was elaborated on the basis of SME Instrument Phase 1 application of the INCH (INteractive CHarging) project, which set its tasks and objectives. The overall objective of D1.1 Feasibility study was to assess the technical and commercial feasibility of INCH by identifying relevant use cases, analysing user needs, defining the corresponding new functionalities, and researching the HW and SW required for the support of these new functionalities.

Economical feasibility of the project was assessed within the initial business plan, which includes evaluation of project costs and a detailed timeplan for the subsequent Phase II of the project. The goal of the feasibility study was to set the technical and business foundation for fulfiling the main objective of the INCH project, which is to commercialise an innovation in the form of a new proposed product, the Etrel Smartcharger.

The specific objective of the overall INCH project (Phase 1 + Phase 2) is to develop and commercialise a price-performance optimised AC charging station for plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) named “Etrel Smartcharger”. Etrel Smartcharger will be able to deliver up to 22 kW of charging power and will be designed for private use at home and semi-private use in areas where several PEVs are charging at the same time, for example in parking garages or on parking lots in front of various residential and other facilities. Etrel Smartcharger will support smart charging of PEVs by offering advanced features not yet available on the market. Smart charging approach will ensure that the PEV charging load will be controllable – this will be achieved with the help of full interactivity of Smartcharger with its technical and business environment.

Development of a new product is a process which consists of several phases. Only some of them are strictly related to technical development. Before approaching the technical development, some business analyses must be carried out to estimate the market potential of a new product and the resources needed for deployment of the product. The final stage of preliminary business analysis consists of financial evaluation of preliminary business plan and, if the business plan meets the selected justification criteria, of project approval. After the project release is approved, the technical experts develop the product’s functional specification with detail description of user requirements, product functionalities, and components (equipment).

In the INCH Feasibility study, the following areas were covered:

- Identification of business needs and approval of business case - this phase was executed during the preparation of proposal;

- Modeling User Requirements with Use Cases. This included determination of all actors and components involved in the operation of the system under development and definition of general, non-technical system architecture. In D1.1 this phase is covered by Part A1 REPORT ON STAKEHOLDER MARKET SURVEY and Part A2 USE CASES;

- Technology Selection and Deployment which consisted of determination of functional and performance requirements, selection of technology based on standards, available technologies, and best practices, and definition of technical specifications. In D1.1 these phases are covered by Part A3 PRODUCT DEFINITION and Part A4 REQUIREMENTS FOR START OF PRODUCTION.

The product development process continues with evaluation of product functionalities from point of view of resources needed for product development (covered in Part A5 SPECIFICATION OF PHASE II PROJECT COSTS) and, together with specification of standards and equipment, serves as an input for further business analysis with the view on how to acquire necessary funding to support the project.

The final stage before the technical development of the product is the elaboration of a detailed business plan (Part B1 BUSINESS PLAN in D1.1). This plan is usually composed of evaluation of development, manufacturing and sales costs, estimation of market potential and income, identification of barriers hindering the deployment of the product and potential risks in the whole project lifecycle, and determination of time and financial resources needed for execution of the project. The result of the business plan, where the financial payback plays the central role, gives the answer whether or not to continue with the project and how.

If the business plan justifies the feasibility of the project, the activities for technical development, marketing campaigns, and establishment of sales channels begin in accordance with time schedules given in the business plan.

The Feasibility Study and Business Plan elaborated in Phase 1 showed clear potential of the proposed innovative product (the Smartcharger) and indicated Etrel's readiness to pursue further implementation of the project as soon as possible (and to acquire the necessary funding to do so).
The work performed over six months of Phase 1 of the project resulted in a complete business plan for the proposed new product, the Etrel Smartchager. The business plan is based on a comprehensive feasibility study which was elaborated within the project as well. Together they form the deliverable D1.1 which is the main result of the Phase 1 INCH project.
The final result for this Phase is identical to the main results achieved by the action - an elaborated business plan (based on a feasibility study) for the proposed new innovative product, Etrel Smartcharger. These results will be used by Etrel to seek funding for the next phase of INCH (INteractive CHarging) project, which aims to commercialise the proposed Smartcharger. The impact of Phase 1 is thus limited to Etrel's internal selection of potential investors who will be presented with the innovation (in first line the EC within Phase 2 of the H2020 SME Instrument); however, this leads to a possibly much wider impact of the proposed Phase 2 of the project (which is thoroughly explained in the application for Phase 2).