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EU-funded technology to boost electric car range

The OpEneR project comprises six partners, including Robert Bosch and PSA, which have developed a new intelligent energy management and recovery system for EVs.

The team developed new functions and connected better the components and systems, allowing the driver to receive braking tips based on traffic flows and advice on the best route to limit energy use. Up to 30% of energy can be saved without losing much time on the way.

The new solutions will be progressively commercialised and integrated into production of new models, making electric cars even greener.

‘Our findings are important for the future of all electric vehicles including hybrids. They will help unlock the market,’ said Dr Kosmas Knödler, the coordinator of OpEneR project, working for the Chassis Systems Control division at Robert Bosch GmbH.

After three years of intense collaboration and with €4.4m of EU investment, the project team presented two demonstrator electric vehicles in Spain this summer.

The team worked on improving the electrical powertrain, the regenerative braking system, the navigation system and the surround sensors, developing a networked architecture with various functions that connect these elements with each other.

For example, the “eco-routing” function considers the specific needs of an electric vehicle when calculating the most energy efficient route. An adaptive cruise control guarantees an economical semi-automated driving style, using radar and video systems supported by enhanced map data including information on inclines, declines and speed limits. Car-to-infrastructure communication provides information about traffic light status.

And user-friendly signals appear on the large display as part of the dashboard to tell the driver when to lift the pedal as they approach traffic lights, city boundaries, speed limits or other vehicles.

‘Further road testing is planned. Then we expect the system to be progressively integrated into production as from next year onwards,’ said Dr Kosmas Knödler.

European Commission vice president Neelie Kroes added: ‘Who wouldn't want to have a better and safer driving experience, while saving money and our environment? We need smarter and greener ways to move: EU projects like OpEneR go in the right direction.’

The European Union aims to have 8-9 million electric vehicles on the road by 2020.

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for nearly 20 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. Natalie edits all the Fleet World websites and newsletters, and loves to hear about any latest industry news - or gossip.

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