Ricardo wins funding to develop cheaper electric trucks


Ricardo has won two Government-backed innovation competitions to develop solutions for heavy duty vehicles, focusing on improving efficiency and performance.

The environmental, engineering and strategic consulting company says it will apply its expertise in battery, power electronics and motor research and development to deliver technologies for electric trucks that will drive down costs and increase range.

Ricardo will be partnering with the University of Bath for both projects. For the first project, which is funded by the Faraday Battery Challenge, supported by Innovate UK, Ricardo will be investigating the efficacy of integrating power electronics–a modular, series-connectable inverter and charger–into a battery pack, and understanding whether this approach can help to reduce the total cost of ownership.

The project is targeting to deliver efficiency improvements and reduce the powertrain mass, leading to savings of around £1,000 per vehicle.

In parallel, for the second project, which is 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 improve efficiency and charging times.

This includes the development of a modular battery pack, advanced power electronics and an electrified drive unit optimised for high voltage use.

Teri Hawksworth, president of Ricardo Automotive and Industrial EMEA Division, said: “Heavy duty vehicle CO2 regulations will require manufacturers to reduce their fleet average emissions significantly. These targets will not be achieved just by improving current technology but will need new powertrain technologies.

“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.”

There are around 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 make up 13.1% of all vehicles on the road but account for around 35% of CO2 road transport emissions.

In April 2021, Ricardo announced that it had received Government funding to assess the commercial viability of a facility to assemble battery packs for UK manufacturers which currently produce fewer than 10,000 electrified vehicles per year.

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