UK engineering consultancy Ricardo has won two government-backed innovation competitions to develop technological solutions for heavy-duty vehicles. It will work with the University of Bath on both programs, which will focus on enhancing efficiency and performance as well reducing the cost of next-gen electrified trucks.
For the first project, which is being funded by the Faraday Battery Challenge and supported by Innovate UK, Ricardo will explore the efficacy of integrating power electronics – a modular, series-connectable inverter and charger – into a battery pack, with the aim of understanding whether this novel approach could help to reduce the total cost of ownership. Essentially, the work will look to improve efficiency and reduce the powertrain mass – hopefully creating savings of around US$1,366 (£1,000) per vehicle. Ultimately, it aims to speed up mass introduction of electric commercial vehicles.
Simultaneously, for the second project, which is backed by the UK government’s Department for Transport and being delivered by Innovate UK, Ricardo will develop technologies for future higher voltage (1,400V) electrified trucks with more efficiency and faster charging. As part of this, the supplier will engineer a modular battery pack, advanced power electronics and an electrified drive unit honed for high voltage applications. Advanced desktop tools will be used to assess the benefits of these solutions, and support the optimization of the configuration and control strategies.
President of Ricardo’s automotive and industrial EMEA division, Teri Hawksworth, commented, “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 world-renowned expertise in battery, electronics and motor innovation to help achieve net zero ambitions.”