On 24th October 2011, Cidaut started one exciting jorney on board a Nissan Leaf. Since that day, the vehicle has been used as a laboratory for understanding the users’s acceptance, the influence of the weather and the driving style on the battery behaviour, the regenerative braking efficiency and so many other issues that have allowed our sustaineble movility and intelligent transport department to fix important knowledge to build many.
All the vehicle movements have been tracked to understand the influence of driving profiles, roads orography, weather conditions, battery temperature and vehicle payload on energy consumption. Also the charging processes have been monitored to evaluated the influence of low charging vs fast charging, battery temperature and voltage and current evolution along the charging.
Braking system has been instrumented to understand the influence of driving style and battery state of charge on regenerative braking working. Noise measurements in the interior and exterior of the vehicle have been performed and on board thermal analysis has allowed to understand some charateristics of the HVAC system.
The vehicle has been used by more than 200 drivers that have completed surveys and have participated in interviews to better understand the initial users’ acceptance to the electric vehicle use. This information has been valuable for Cidaut in order to advance in the evolution of several projects related not only with the electric vehicle, but also with the connected one.
High strength steel tubular frames are a cost effective solution for urban electric vehicles. On one hand the high mechanical characteristics of HSS together with advanced design methodologies makes possible to create an almost non-deformable cabin to guarantee passengers’ and battery’s safety, on the other hand, their predictable behavior and high elongation allow to improve the energy absorption of the collapsible zones.
But one of the challenges of the high strength structures when they are highly demanded is the welding process. In this case the welding process has been optimized to nearly obtain the same mechanical properties of the base material, mainly DP800 and DP1000. But the development has gone one step forward, because Cidaut has developed a methodology to determine the effect of the welding process in the fatigue life of the joints in the vehicle structure.
The methodology is based in the use of finite elements simulations and takes into account not only the longitudinal geometry of the beams, but also the section of the beam and the influence of the welding process. The methodology has been validated through the testing of specimens at laboratory scale, and nowadays is been validated in a full vehicle structure test.
The fatigue loads have been determined thanks to the use of a multiboby analysis, where the everyday manoeuvers have been modelled (curves, braking, small potholes, braking in turn, acceleration,…) and the forces in the four corners of the vehicle have been determined to be used in both the finite element simulation and the validation test.
This development has been made in the frame of the European Project Avangard, a three years European Project that has recently reached his midterm. The research leading to this result has received funding from the European Union Horizon 2020 Programme under Grant Agreement nº 869986.
Urban mobility is smoothly changing, the electric vehicles are slowly but firmly conquering their natural environment. The cities are the places were the highest percentage of the population is concentrated, for this reason it is very important to improve the quality of the air, highly related to the health. At the same time the cities are the places where the travelling distances are shorter, lower to 30km as an average daily. And finally, the cities are the places with a higher number of transport means coexist.
The scenario that has been described involves a high interaction between different transport modes from walking to public transport going through monocycles, scooter, bicycles, motorbikes and four wheelers. The aim of Multi-Moby project, funded by the European Commission in the H2020 Programme, is focused on the four wheelers, taking as a base a high performance low consumption urban electric vehicle, Cidaut is leading the activities to ensure the safety of all the actors involved in the urban mobility. To get this ambitious target the safety is tackled from an integral point of view, including active and passive aspects.
From the active point of view the vehicle is equipped with advanced driving assistance systems that allow the identification of the more vulnerable users of the road and to take autonomous decisions in order to about accidents.
From the passive point of view, an optimized structure and ad-hoc developed restrain system protect the occupants in the event of a lateral, frontal or rear crash. But also, in the case that the active safety systems cannot avoid the accident against a vulnerable road user, the structure of the vehicle has been designed to minimize the damage.
Cidaut is making a detailed analysis of the automotive value chain in Castilla y León region to determine the viability of a micro-factory to assemble urban electric vehicles based on the principle of kilometer zero production. The analysis encompasses companies of different sizes from Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) going through suppliers of different levels (TIER 1, TIER 2, …). Although the analysis is still ongoing, as a preliminary conclusion it can be highlighted the strength of the automotive value change in the region, covering a high percentage of the components production needs. This production capability is complemented by the existence of Research and Development departments in many of the providers analyzed, the presence in the region of high skilled Technological Center in the automotive sector and the contribution of several Universities with high experience in mechanics, electronics and communication.
The local production minimizes the transport of the components from the manufacturing site to the assembly plant, reducing the noxious emissions in the manufacturing phase. This effect is complemented in the use phase due to the fact that the vehicle vehicles to be produced are small urban vehicles, optimized to reduce their energy consumption and equipped with photovoltaic panels that allow to increase the daily range by 20 kms a day, as an average along the year.
The scope of this project is not only regional but European. In the frame of the Avangard Project, funded by the European Commission in the Horizon 2020 Programme, Cidaut leads the activities related to the analysis of different European regions where the installation of the micro-factories would have a larger impact in the reduction of the environmental impact, the creation of job, the enhancement of the automotive value chain and the benefits for the society. The regions under study are located in the following countries: Finland, Greece, Italy, Poland and Portugal.
In the frame of Multi-Moby European Project, which aims at developing of technology for safe, efficient and affordable urban electric vehicle, Cidaut is responsible of the integral safety of the vehicle’s occupant but also of the rest of the vulnerable road users.
Multi-Moby is the last, by now, of a large row of projects that were born from the idea of developing environmental friendly, sustainable vehicles considering circular economy concepts, and will finish with the development of a digitalized micro-factory for the assembly of the final solution. In this project the vehicle safety is being improved that’s to the introduction of automated driving solutions that will contribute to increase the integral safety of occupants and the rest of road users.
Cidaut is in charge of the structural design, the development of the restraint system and the implementation of innovative solutions for vulnerable road users’ protection, all of them supported by the automated driving capabilities of the vehicle. The vehicle will be equipped with artificial intelligence to look out the environment and make decisions to avoid or mitigate the possible accident. In the worst case, if the accident happens, Cidaut’s solutions will minimize its consequences on both, the occupant and the vulnerable road users.
The research leading to these results received funding from the European Union (EU) project MULTI-MOBY (GA #101006953).