IFEVS is the Italian company designing smart electric urban vehicles with four main characteristics, affordability, all made in Europe, modularity and safety. The aim to obtain affordable solutions has addressed to the design of high strength steel tubular frames for different vehicle configurations. The technology is so flexible that can be applied to the frame of a bicycle and also to the frame of a van. For the last ten years, CIDAUT as specialist in crash worthiness, has established a strong collaboration with IFEVS to make these smart vehicles as safe as possible, being able to comply not only with the Regulation applicable to M1 vehicles but also with the more restrictive Euro NCAP protocols.
In TRA Lisbon, IFEVS presented the four wheels vehicle and also different configurations of the e-bike. In the case of the e-bikes the two and three wheels versions were available for testing. The vehicles received very good comments after testing mainly related to the high comfort, the easiness to ride and the progressivity of the electric boost.
Besides the positive feed-back of the tester, it is important to highlight that thanks to the modular design of the frame, its manufacturing cost is lower than the ones coming from Asian countries and also easy to manufacture in a low investment assembly line, with the competitive advantage that the design and the components are made in Europe, with innovative solutions for the energy storage system.
The research leading to these results received funding from the European Union (EU) project Avangard (GA #869986)
Euro NCAP protocols are continuously evolving to warranty the highest level of active and passive safety in the vehicles available in the market. As a result of this evolution a new frontal crash scenario has been recently included, it is the Mobile Progressive Deformable Barrier test (MPDB). It consists on a mobile vehicle of 1.400kg with a deformable barrier in the front that circulates at 50kph and crashes against the tested vehicle, also circulating at 50kph with a 50% overlap.
This crash configuration is especially critical for light urban electric vehicles. The fist reason for this assertion is related to the mass and size of the urban vehicle. As they are quite light, the impact against another vehicle that almost duplicates their mass is really challenging, and this fact is aggravated by the small size of the vehicle that implies a shorter space to absorb all the energy coming from the 1400kg vehicle and the ego vehicle. The second reason for this assertion is related to the need to protect the batteries from any kind of damage, which is especially critical also in a small sized vehicle.
Thanks to the development of Multi-Moby project, and together with the rest of the partners of the consortium, CIDAUT has demonstrated that it is possible to comply with this restrictive crash configuration. To achieve a positive result, and exhaustive optimization of the vehicle structure, together with the suitable design of the restraint system have been performed at the research and development center. After the optimization process, the simulations have shown that it is possible to protect both the occupants and the energy storage system from significant damage in this kind of impact.
The research leading to these results received funding from the European Union (EU) project MULTI-MOBY (GA #101006953)
In the frame of Urbane, Horizon Europe Project, the research center and the municipality will collaborate to advance in the integration of zero emission vehicles and intelligent transport solutions for advanced last mile delivery solutions. The project has started on September 2022, and will last for 42 months. In this time, smart urban electric vehicles, vans and bikes, will be used to develop advanced last mile solutions based on connectivity solutions, protection of vulnerable road users and energy harvesting through photovoltaic panels integrated in the vehicles.
In relation to connectivity, the vehicles will be able to “talk” with all the elements around to reduce their carbon footprint, V2X. In the case of vehicle to vehicle communication, V2V, the vehicles of the fleet will inform each other about the load capacity available and the final destination, to optimize the number of vehicles moving to the different zones of the city, In the case of vehicle to infrastructure, V2I, the traffic lights will inform the vehicles about the time to green or to red, and the vehicles will be able to optimize their speed in order to minimize the electricity consumption. In the case of vehicle to customer, V2C, the vehicle will inform the customer about the parcel delivery, and if the customer accepts it will be possible to remotely open the trunk of his/her vehicle to deliver the parcel.
In relation to vulnerable road users protection, it is a fact that electric vehicles are less noisy and then more dangerous for vulnerable road users, mainly taking into account that last mile logistics may be concentrated in center areas of the cities. For this reason, the vehicles used in the project are equipped with artificial intelligence that allows the detection and recognition of vulnerable road users, advising the driver or automatically braking the vehicle in the case of risky situations.
Energy harvesting will be made thanks to the installation of advanced photovoltaics cells in the surface of the vehicles, laboratory tests, made previously to the project, have demonstrated that in the case of the van, and under ideal conditions, 25 km of totally free emissions can be run. One of the aims of the project is to demonstrate the performance in real traffic conditions.
The research leading to these results has received funding from Horizon Europe Programme under grant agreement nº 101069782.
In the frame of SAHE, Hybrid and Electric Automotive Show, celebrated in Valladolid from the 22nd to the 24th of April, Cidaut has presented its last innovations related to sustainable mobility and intelligent transport.
At Cidaut’s booth, it was possible to see and touch two of the prototypes development in the last research and development projects carried out by the technological center. The first one was a crash test prototype that had been tested according to Regulation 94 homologation, in the frontal part of the vehicle the consequences of the crash were still visible. The rest of the vehicle has been repaired in order to shortly make an additional lateral pole crash test. Inside the vehicle, in the driving position, a crash test dummy was seated in order to make this testing tool familiar to the visitors. Most of the youngest assistants to the show were surprised and happy to see and touch the dummy while very few were surprised or scared.
The second prototype was a functional extra-light and safe urban electric vehicle. The interior of this prototype was monitored with a simple webcam and thanks to the application of artificial vision solutions, the vehicle was able to determine the position of the occupants, the direction of their glance, the number of flickers and yawns, and the alertness level of the driver. This solution will be applied to avoid unattended driving in automated driving scenarios, but also in standard driving conditions. The vehicle was open for the visitors to come in and test the performance of the monitoring systems. Again the youngest visitors were the ones who enjoyed the most the technological advances. Great to know the interest of youngest attendants in innovative solutions.
CIDAUT is one of the research entities participating in the Zeppelin industrial research project, which aims to develop efficient and circular technological solutions for the production and storage of green hydrogen. The project aims to use innovation to reduce the current costs of renewable fuel production.
Led by the company Aqualia, Zeppelin has the participation of other actors in the hydrogen sector such as Redexis, Naturgy, Norvento, Perseo, Reganosa, Técnicas Reunidas and Repsol.
The general objectives of the project are to research new green hydrogen production technologies that are alternatives to electrolysis and that promote the circular economy through the recovery of waste and by-products from different sectors (agri-food, textiles, WWTPs, refineries, etc.).
Currently, 96% of the hydrogen produced in the world comes from fossil fuels and only 1% from renewable sources. Spain’s Hydrogen Roadmap calls for 25% of the hydrogen consumed by industry to be renewable by 2030, which will begin to power our trains, planes and vehicles. The Zeppelin project will contribute to achieving these Roadmap targets.
New materials and carriers for storing green hydrogen and modelling tools for the different technologies developed will also be evaluated. All of this, aligned with the objective of reducing the energy, economic and environmental costs associated with current hydrogen production and promoting safe, efficient and clean energy.
Within Activity 4: Research into H2 storage processes, led by Redexis, CIDAUT will collaborate in the research into alternative storage processes for green hydrogen in the form of ammonia. A comparative study with other forms of H2 storage will be carried out and a process for H2 storage in form of ammonia adapted to production and use needs will be dimensioned.
Zeppelin is funded by the Centre for Technological and Industrial Development (CDTI), through the CDTI Missions programme, aimed at financing large strategic business R&D initiatives that propose solutions to cross-cutting and strategic challenges for Spanish society and with the support of the Ministry of Science and Innovation. It has a budget of more than 7 million euros and the research will last until the end of 2024.The budget granted is financed by the European Union through the Next Generation Fund.