Everyone knows that last-mile logistics negatively affects cities’ air quality. Its relevance in the total greenhouse gas emissions is driving logistics operators to electrify their fleets. Whereas in the past, the customers valued the speed of the service more highly, there is now a greater concern for sustainability and the environment when making an online purchase. In parallel, making urban logistics more sustainable requires the promotion of the public administration at this point, for economic reasons.
In the framework of EU Urbane project, CIDAUT is studying how much the air quality in Valladolid would improve if urban delivery services were electrified. As part of the study, a number of specialised prototype vehicles, designed and developed by IFEVS, will be put into circulation. As a special feature, these vehicles are partially powered by photovoltaic energy. Although the brand has several models, only the van and cargo bike will be put into circulation in Valladolid.
The study is focused on Boecillo Technological Park and the central area of Valladolid, which has unique characteristics. Specifically, these are an important historical centre, with a lot of distribution demand by hotels, restaurants and cafes, and a lot of pedestrians. CIDAUT has reached an agreement with the Spanish postal service so that they make deliveries of letters and parcels on the IFEVS vehicles. Their routes are being monitored; both with the vehicles they normally use and soon with the prototype vehicles, in order to establish a comparative of how much the city’s air quality would improve if electric vehicles were used.
As mentioned above, this study is supported by EU Urbane project, funding from Horizon Europe under Grant Agreement nº 101069782.
Figure 1. Positive impacts of smart charging technologies, by Waldron et al. (2019).
In the latest years, a growing number of cities are leveraging on mobility-related interventions at urban and peri-urban scale to enhance many aspects of citizens’ life such as sustainability, inclusiveness, social cohesion, or public health. In PROBONO, mobility at Living Lab scale is envisioned as a key enabler of GBNs, thanks to the implementation of smart charging-related functionalities in the local energy network.
It is widely known that the electrification of transport is considered a major driver of the green transition. But at the same time it is also clear that the deployment of vast amounts of EVs in our neighborhoods will have a massive impact on the current electricity systems, mainly in terms of installed capacity and power handling. This is due to the fact that users’ EV charging patterns may lead to intense peaks in power demand, which will require extra investments in infrastructure to update electric networks, provided that EV charging infrastructure continue to be based on regular, unidirectional charging points.
Smart charging, enabled by bi-directional chargers can be the key to avoid this kind of problems. By using bi-directional chargers, power can be transferred either from the grid to the EVs, or the other way around. The main objective of smart charging is to manage EV charging demands intelligently, so that it doesn’t destabilize the overall electric network. For this purpose, two main strategies are put in place: load balancing (shifting EV charging demand to off-peak hours), and peak shaving (use energy stored in EV to reduce the intensity of peak demand).
Through smart charging, EVs with bidirectional charging capability can be used as multi-purpose energy banks able to take out or feed energy into the electricity grid, for various applications:
- Vehicle-to-Load (V2L): the EV battery is employed to feed any regular appliances or other EVs by transferring power through a generic power plug, no matter the location of the EV and the load. It does not need the installation of a bi-directional charger to operate, and it can be used to power critical loads during an outage, or to power appliances when on the road.
- Vehicle-to-Home (V2H): vehicle-to-home consists on extracting energy from an EV battery, to power a home during a certain time period, instead of being fed by the electricity grid. One of most interesting applications of this technology is power outage prevention.
- Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G): vehicle-to-grid takes place when a portion of the EV battery energy is introduced into the electricity grid, usually in exchange for an incentive for the EV owner. V2G charging can help to minimize the impact on the power generation systems during peak demands, hence increasing the grid flexibility, resilience and stability.
In practice, the management of EVs charging can be integrated in the general GBN energy management system to maximize energy savings. To this end, the system can prioritise the charge of the vehicles attending to users’ needs, as well as energy availability considering a high portion of the energy being produced by renewable sources. It also allows optimizing the operating cost of the network, and avoiding grid congestions at GBN scale. At the same time, smart charging can generate incomes to GBN inhabitants, mainly through V2G energy transfer, therefore lowering the ownership costs of EVs.
The research leading to these results has received funding from Horizon 2020 Green Deal under Grant Agreement 101037075
From 14th to 16th of April, the second edition of the Hybrid and Electric Vehicle Show will be held in Valladolid. The event will take place in Feria de Muestras de Valladolid, located at Avenida Ramón Pradera 3. Most of the most important car manufactures will be present with their latest electric and hybrid products and also mobility as a service solutions.
CIDAUT will show its latest research and development solutions for sustainable mobility and intelligent transport applications. Examples of artificial intelligence applied to last mile solutions, the presentation of an innovative electric bicycle with photovoltaic panels embedded, the role of hydrogen in the forthcoming mobility, the use of sustainable materials to reduce the weight of the vehicles and the integral safety solutions for the different levels of automated driving will be some of the technical improvements to touch and feel at CIDAUT’s booth.
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)