A Light weight electric Lupo
With rising fuel prices and increasing concern regarding the emissions of CO2 and particles, the electric vehicle appears to be a suitable alternative for the internal combustion car for many applications. Recent progress in battery technology allows building electric cars with good performance characteristics and acceptable range.
reducing weight = saving energy = increasing range
Storing energy in batteries is at least 25 times as heavy when compared to petrol, also the volume increases by at least a factor 10. This causes battery electric vehicles to be rather heavy; for a family car with four seats and a 24 kWh battery pack the weight is typically over 1500 kg. The battery size can be reduced, but then the range also will be become smaller and potentially impractical. Furthermore many electric vehicles will be used in an urban environment. Despite the benefits of regenerative braking, calculations show that in city traffic a 10% increase in vehicle weight may lead to 7% increased energy consumption. To maintain the same range, more batteries are needed resulting in a weight increase and a vicious circle starts to develop. So keeping the overall weight down is an important target. The donor vehicle used in the project is a VW Lupo 3L, which is thoroughly optimized to have a low weight, e.g. by having various aluminium and magnesium parts, thinner glass, etc. The resulting battery electric Lupo EL achieves a very interesting combination of interior space (4 seats), weight (1060 kg) and battery capacity (27 kWh).
Although some electric vehicles are available on the market today, the TU/e has chosen to do develop the vehicle from scratch. In this way the characteristics of the vehicle can be tailored to our vision on electric mobility and this has resulted in a very flexible, programmable vehicle. The existing dashboard and controls are fully functional and adapted to EV driving. The vehicle is equipped with many sensors to analyse the behaviour of the power train and vehicle dynamics.
Various research topics have been and are being addressed, for example:
• vehicle performance analysis, range estimation and battery sizing
• efficient heating of the vehicle interior
• component testing and modelling, e.g. battery efficiency
• analysis of regenerative braking strategies
• full vehicle modelling using multi-body software tools
• investigation of the benefits of in-wheel motors
• vehicle control software development
• development of a user interface to inform the driver on the vehicle status
• electric power steering
The vehicle has been inspected by the Dutch roadworthiness authorities (RDW) and is allowed to drive on the public roads in the Netherlands.
The initial funding for this research vehicle originates from the C,MM,N project. Additional funding is been provided by the HTAS enablers program. Furthermore support has been received from various component suppliers: Winston Battery, Bender, Siba, IFM, TE Connectivity, Philips Automotive Lighting and Michelin.
Paul van Oorschot, e-mail: Igo Besselink, e-mail:
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