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Ricardo receives funding to develop future electric trucks.

Ricardo says it has won two UK Government-backed innovation competitions to develop novel solutions for heavy-duty vehicles. Next, the company will focus on improving efficiency and performance and reducing the cost of future electric trucks.

Ricardo will be partnering with the University of Bath for both projects. The first project is funded by the Faraday Battery Challenge, supported by Innovate UK. Ricardo will investigate the efficacy of integrating power electronics – a modular, series-connectable inverter and charger – into a battery pack and understanding whether this novel approach can help reduce the total cost of ownership. The project aims to deliver efficiency improvements and reduce the powertrain mass, leading to savings of around 1,000GBP per vehicle. This will help to accelerate the wide-scale adoption of electrified commercial vehicles.

In parallel, for the second project funded by the UK Government’s 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, building on Ricardo’s previous Future Truck research. The benefits of these technologies will be assessed through the development and use of advanced desktop tools, which will also support us to optimise the technical configuration and control while focusing on minimising the total cost of ownership.

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. In addition, 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.”

Currently, there are just over half a million trucks on the road in the UK, but only 0.2% of these are using cleaner propulsion. In Britain, vans and trucks makeup 13.1% of all vehicles on the road but account for around 35% of CO2 road transport emissions. The UK Government is proposing to end the sale of all new non-zero emission heavy goods vehicles by 2040, so manufacturers and fleet operators have a pressing urgent requirement for novel technology advances which will help accelerate the take-up of electric trucks while reducing cost, risk and time to market.

This latest funding award therefore is a further enhancement to Ricardo’s capability in advanced batteries, power electronics and motors for electric vehicles.

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