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Leicester’s De Montfort University & CENEX team up to explore range anxiety solutions

Being undertaken by De Montfort University’s (DMU) Department of Technology along with CENEX, the Centre of Excellence for low carbon and fuel cell technologies, the project aims to develop innovative ways of making electric vehicles go further on one charge.

Three areas will come under focus, including the vehicle’s performance, which will be individually modelled to develop a battery charge algorithm that maximises the effectiveness of the traditional fuel burn.

In addition, artificial intelligence will be used to manage the range extender – replacing the “recharge when low” approach. Finally, data from a SatNav coupled with a journey planner will be used to decide when to recharge the vehicle battery.

The project will also examine whether it is better to use a hydrogen fuel cell range extender instead of a petrol or diesel model.

The £375,000 project is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund, with the rest of the funds being supplied by the DMU.

Dr Eric Goodyer of DMU said: ‘Electric vehicles are now an established technology, and available from many major vehicle manufacturers.

‘They are of particular value in urban environments, and are supported by a growing infrastructure of charging points.

‘However their perceived lack of range is holding back market penetration for travellers who make long journeys. This is where Range Extenders can make a major contribution.

‘Existing techniques consist of little more than a traditionally powered motor that is used to recharge the vehicle’s primary drive battery pack.

‘They can add literally 100s of miles to the vehicle’s range, but are little more than a simplistic battery charger that cuts in when the battery is getting low. This research project will examine more fuel-efficient means of delivering range extension.’

Natalie Middleton

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