Ricardo has won two UK government-backed competitions to improve the efficiency, performance and cost of future electric trucks.
The Shoreham-based consultancy will partner with Bath University to deliver the projects.
In the first project, Ricardo will be investigating the efficacy of integrating power electronics – a modular, series-connectable inverter and charger – into a battery pack and understanding whether this approach can help to reduce the total cost of ownership.
The project, funded by the Faraday Battery Challenge and supported by Innovate UK, expects to deliver efficiency improvements and reduce the powertrain mass, leading to savings of around £1,000 per vehicle. According to Ricardo, this will help to accelerate the wider-scale adoption of electrified commercial vehicles.
For the second project, funded by the Department for Transport and delivered by Innovate UK, Ricardo is developing technologies for future higher voltage (1400V) electric trucks to enable greater efficiency and faster charging.
This includes the development of a modular battery pack, advanced power electronics and an electrified drive unit optimised for high voltage use. The benefits of these technologies will be assessed through the development and use of advanced desktop tools, which Ricardo said will help it in ‘optimising the technology configuration and control while focusing on minimising total cost of ownership’.
In a statement, Teri Hawksworth, president of Ricardo Automotive and Industrial EMEA Division said: “Heavy duty vehicle CO2 regulations will require manufacturers to reduce their fleet average CO2 emissions significantly. These targets will not be achieved just by improving current technology but will need new powertrain technologies. Fleet operators have incurred considerable costs through the accelerated fleet renewal. Ricardo is committed to supporting manufacturers and fleet operators by driving cost out of electrification, leveraging our…expertise in battery, electronics and motor innovation to help achieve net zero ambitions.”
The UK government is proposing to end the sale of all new non-zero emission heavy goods vehicles by 2040. According to Ricardo, 0.2 per cent of the UK’s half a million trucks are using cleaner propulsion. The company added that the nations’ vans and trucks make up 13.1 per cent of all vehicles on the road but account for around 35 per cent of CO2 road transport emissions.