IMPROVE! Range-optimized small electric vans for commercial applications
Minimized energy consumption, low production and operating costs, support for fleet managers in commercial vehicle fleets: In 2013, an international consortium of industrial and scientific partners was motivated by these key factors to launch the EU project "IMPROVE". After three years of operation, the project has been successfully completed under the coordination of VIRTUAL VEHICLE.
Ten international industry and research partners, covering the entire supply chain, as well as a car manufacturer pursued a common goal in the "IMPROVE" project: The efficiency and range-predictability of electric-powered vans shall be optimized by the integration of cloud data. The successful three-year project was funded by the 7th framework program of the EU.
In addition to the coordination of the entire consortium, VIRTUAL VEHICLE was responsible for research in the fields of energy and signal processing, functional safety, co-simulation and vehicle network/CAN communication.
Reduced energy demand – lower costs
In the course of the IMPROVE project, it was possible to develop an electric engine with higher power density as well as systems for the recovery of braking energy. At the same time it was taken into account that the assembly spaces required for these components are as suitable for vans with combustion engines. As a result, production costs can be reduced.
Another project result was the development of new optimization methods for improved energy management. A maximum range was provided due to forward planning of the energy flows in the vehicle. This is achieved by using external information via a data cloud (e.g. weather, traffic or road conditions).
Networking and improved calculation models - reliable range – predictability
Furthermore the use of external information is also the key to improved range-predictability - an issue that is of great relevance to the fleet manager concerning route planning as well as the selection of vehicles and drivers.
As the driving behavior of individual drivers is decisive for the range and their predictability, the IMPROVE consortium also dealt with the intuitive interface between man and vehicle. The training of the drivers for energy-optimal driving behavior is implicitly performed by so-called "gamification features", anonymous, game-based incentive systems, which were also developed during the course of the project.
Participation in the European project cluster
IMPROVE provides all the elements to make commercial, electric-powered vans attractive, reliable and cost-effective. In order to share the results of the project and to include the latest research findings from other projects, IMPROVE joined the project cluster "4th Generation Electric Vehicles" - an association from the European research projects iCOMPOSE, INCOBAT, eDAS and Batteries2020. More information about the project cluster is provided here.