The courier industry could become greener and more efficient, thanks to the development of a new type of electric delivery vehicle by researchers at WMG at Warwick University.
The DELIVER-E technology demonstrator, which has been developed in collaboration with Warwickshire design company Astheimer, is based on the platform of the Renault Twizy.
The electric vehicle is quiet, compact, and lightweight, and is designed for navigating urban environments without adding to noise and pollution levels.
The original design for the vehicle was developed by researchers in the SME Group at WMG. This concept was then converted into a final design by the team at Astheimer, according to David Greenwood, professor of advanced propulsion systems at WMG.
As part of the first phase of technology development, the team removed the original Renault battery and replaced in with a 48V 6.5kWh battery system, developed as part of WMG’s Automated Module-to-Pack Pilot Line for Industrial Innovation (AMPLiFII) project. The new battery increases the vehicle’s peak power from 12kW to 36kW.
“The battery pack gives the vehicle a little bit more range but more importantly a lot more power,” said Greenwood. “And in the next stage of the work we expect to change the vehicle from rear-wheel drive to having four independent electric motors, one in each wheel, which will give us much better manoeuvrability and a much better turning circle,” he said.
The DELIVER-E also has a touchscreen interface, and an open-platform control system, which allows the researchers to install specially-developed algorithms to control the powertrain and report on the vehicle’s state of charge and range, said Greenwood.
“This means that in our next step we can start to access some of the powertrain data about remaining range, for example, so that we can start to integrate the vehicle’s delivery cycle with data on the availability of batter power and charging, to really make it a much smarter vehicle,” he said.
In this way the vehicle is likely to continue to evolve, with new upgrades added every nine to twelve months. Ultimately, the researchers hope that these upgrades will include some of the autonomous driving technologies that are being developed at WMG, Greenwood said.