Connected EVs drive further, project finds

September 12, 2014 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
A research consortium headed by carmaker BMW explored ways to extend the driving range of electric cars at a given battery capacity. The result: Smart driving strategies and connected technologies can extend the range by as much as 15% even with batteries available.

The research project EFA 2014 focused on smart energy management systems and ways to optimise driving strategies by means of online information. In this context, the powertrain as well as the temperature management system (air conditioning) and the driver himself benefited from the availability of relevant information obtained through connectivity. For instance, data on the planned route and the traffic situation can be utilised to optimise driving and operating strategy to maximise the range. The rules and principles devised in this context can be used to implement the control algorithm for a proactive efficiency assistant system.

This concept of an efficiency assistant that offers a particular extensive support to the driver in terms of range-optimised mobility builds on intelligent systems already in use in BMWs i3 electric vehicle. These systems compute the available range, taking into account the route topology and the current traffic situation.

Within the concept of the trial, the researchers also investigated the impact of traffic light to driving range and how traffic flow can be optimised for electric driving. The city of Dresden participated in the trial when it used the data generated by the test vehicles to control the traffic flow across the city. Phased traffic lights help drivers to optimise their range - but its is important that the vehicles are enabled to optimise their speed according to the traffic light phase and adapt the operation of electric loads within the car accordingly. In addition, the researchers developed an electronically controlled brake resistor whose thermal energy is utilised for the air conditioning system. Under the bottom line, the techniques and algorithms developed in the trial will enable designers to build an energy efficiency assistant system that helps even inexpert drivers to improve their driving range by about 15%.

Under the lead of BMW, electronics suppliers Bosch, Continental, Daimler, Elmos Semiconductor, Hella, Infineon Valeo participated in the project as well as the research institutes FKFS