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IAAPS and Ricardo partner to develop electrification solutions for heavy duty vehicles

4th November, 2021

IAAPS and global engineering consultancy Ricardo are set to collaborate on two Government funded projects, delivering technologies and R&D for electric trucks with the aim to improve efficiency and performance and support the decarbonisation of the wider transport sector.

The first project, funded by the Faraday Battery Challenge, will mainly look at the benefits such as cost of ownership, efficiency and flexibility provided by a new topology; the other one, funded by the Department of Transport, focusses on benefits brought by the high voltage system on aspects such as efficiency, charging speed and drive performance.

Global EV truck sales are expected to rise and account for up to 33% of the market by 2030. The ECV production (3.5-44tonne GVW) is forecast to reach 120,000 units/year by 2025. An 18-tonne truck represents a median vehicle in this sector and would require a 350kW.h battery for a 300km range. Using a 2025 commercial vehicle battery pack price of $200/kWh gives a total market value of £7.56bn/annum.

The primary barrier to freight electrification is higher upfront vehicle costs. A battery electric truck has a 52% higher first owner Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) compared to a diesel vehicle. The system voltage has a significant impact on the efficiency, size and weight of such drivetrains, with higher voltages leading to increased efficiency, lower weight powertrain and improved TCO.

The main motivation for these projects is efficiency improvement and cost reduction for electrified zero-emissions trucks based on the already proven benefits of higher system voltages in passenger cars. A novel topology for the electric system will address these challenges based on the research of Dr Vincent Zeng, Lecturer in Power Electronics and Systems and part of the IAAPS Academic Team. This topology will have an integrated design of the electric drive unit and battery management system, allowing scalable voltage with a distributed battery pack design.

Commenting on the collaboration between IAAPS and Ricardo, Dr Zeng said:

"Ricardo and IAAPS / the University of Bath have an established research relationship over decades, having collaborated on a number of Innovate UK projects, including Dynamo, Speed V, as well as the Horizon 2020 project Thomson, to name just a few. Since the recent establishment of the Electrification Team at the University, we have been exploring joint research ideas as there are multiple areas of mutual interest. These two projects will further strengthen our relationship and expand our collaboration in new areas.’’