OpEneR, a European consortium of OEMs, parts suppliers and research institutes, has developed a system that combines driving strategies and driver assistance systems to vastly improve the efficiency and range of EVs by optimizing energy management.
Engineers worked to improve the electrical powertrain, regenerative braking system, navigation system and surround sensors, and tested the system using two Peugeot prototype EVs.
A proactive driving style is a very effective way to reduce fuel consumption. The researchers adapted the behavior of the adaptive cruise control (ACC) to an economical driving style. The prototype vehicles have a redesigned instrument panel with an electronic horizon to optimize the ACC function. This feature tells drivers when to lift the accelerator pedal as they approach city boundaries or speed limits. The transmission then switches to idle, making the most of the car’s momentum.
Another range booster is “eco routing,” which considers the specific needs of an EV when calculating the best route. The navigation system continuously factors in the car’s real energy consumption behavior. Test drives demonstrated energy consumption savings of up to 30% in return for a longer travel time of just 14%.
Another task was to find the ideal interaction between the powertrain and the regenerative braking system. Engineers equipped the two test vehicles with the Bosch iBooster, an electromechanical brake booster, and an ESP brake control system specifically adapted for EVs.
Compared to a typical “sporty” driver, the OpEneR operation strategies resulted in energy savings of 27-36%, with an increase in travel time of 8-21%, depending on the driver’s willingness to follow the recommendations. About 5 percentage points of the energy consumption reduction were due to intelligent torque distribution between front and rear electric motors in the demonstrators, which had no influence on travel time at all.