Despite increasingly efficient vehicles, emissions in road freight transport have not fallen since 1990 due to increasing transport performance and contribute to about one third of greenhouse gas emissions in the transport sector. In order to achieve the climate targets, the reduction of CO2 emissions in road freight transport is a serious lever, which can be achieved through electrification. This electrification has significantly different requirements in the commercial vehicle sector in comparison to passenger transport.
The movement of large commercial vehicles, sometimes over long distances, requires greater drive power and vehicle batteries with significantly higher capacities. Long charging times and the associated standing times are also suboptimal from an economic perspective in the commercial vehicle sector, as the economic viability of commercial vehicles is tied to high trip utilisation. Large battery capacities of commercial vehicles and high performance of the charging infrastructure represent solution options for a transport sector-optimised electrification.
Due to this user requirement profile and the resulting vehicle concept, a powerful charging infrastructure in the megawatt range is needed to ensure the acceptance and everyday suitability of fully electric commercial vehicles. The resulting charged energy quantities and charging capacities of such megawatt charging systems (MCS) in turn pose special challenges with regard to their grid connection and the associated integration into the energy system.
The NEFTON project addresses these challenges with a consortium of seven participants, who come equally from the scientific environment and from industry. The consortium combines competences from the areas of vehicle development, electronics development and energy management, each from the industrial as well as the scientific perspective.
The overall objective of the NEFTON research project is to develop and test a near-series prototype of an electrified commercial vehicle and a corresponding charging system with a charging capacity in the megawatt range. To accomplish this, the entire chain of effects, starting with the definition of requirements by commercial vehicle operators, resulting electric vehicle concepts and (rapid) charging infrastructure concepts, will be examined for feasibility and economic viability.
Based on movement and transport profiles, an optimal electric commercial vehicle concept is defined and a prototype is implemented based on an existing vehicle. Taking into account the vehicle and user requirements, unidirectional and bidirectional power electronics for the charging infrastructure are designed, prototypically implemented and their effectiveness in providing energy in the commercial vehicle is investigated.
Through accompanying energy-economic analyses of the overall system, the project thus covers the entire process chain from requirements analysis to the effects of the technology in the future energy system. The results of the project are summarised in a technology/user manual. In this manual, the technology of fast charging for the utility vehicle sector will be evaluated and recommendations for action on standardised interfaces and the procedure for the market introduction of megawatt charging systems will be given.
The FfE’s project contents
The Forschungsstelle für Energiewirtschaft e.V. (FfE) is providing scientific support for the development of the MCS prototype and is particularly dedicated to the energy-economic classification and evaluation of the MCS technology. Based on the requirement profiles derived from customer requirements and the mobility needs of various user groups, charging load profiles are modelled in order to make scientific statements regarding optimised grid integration, economic operation and the resulting utilisation of the MCS system.
Possible business models resulting from the developed use cases and the logistics requirements will be evaluated in energy-economic analyses. Based on a step-by-step extrapolation of electrified commercial vehicle traffic, the potential of MCS technology is also analysed and the resulting energy system repercussions, such as CO2 emissions from charging processes, are determined. In addition, the energy-economic classification of the technology in the future energy system is carried out, taking into account possible technological alternatives.
In addition to FfE e.V., the partners MAN Truck & Bus SE, AVL Software and Functions GmbH, PRETTL Electronics GmbH, Technical University of Deggendorf and Fraunhofer ISE are involved in the project under the leadership of the Technical University of Munich (Chair of Automotive Engineering).
The research project is funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK) (Funding code: 01 MV21004E).