EPSRC Project

Electric Vehicle Through-Life Management based on Telematic Data

Electric vehicles have become widely recognised as being a viable alternative to conventional ICE powered vehicles. This is due to recent advances in battery technology which has allowed vehicle range to reach an acceptable level for many users. Despite such advances availability and range of vehicles remains a substantial concern for many. Alongside concerns regarding the range of EVs between charges are issues around the lifespan of several key components, most notably batteries, and the overall reliability of the vehicles. Such uncertainty can lead to risk adverse behaviour in potential early adopters and ultimately impair the uptake of EVs. Vehicle fleet operators have been identified as potential early adopters for this technology and as such it is critical that the lifespan and reliability of these assets is managed effectively based on proven asset management methodologies. 

Reliability management and maintenance strategies for conventional vehicles have developed over recent decades. The run to fail ethos has been replaced with a mixture of approaches which encompass aspects of planned preventive maintenance and condition based maintenance using diagnostic tools and data gathering in systems including engine management systems. Such approaches have matured alongside the addition of sophisticated control systems which allow this data to be collected. Electric Vehicles by their nature make use of state-of-the art on board systems for gathering, processing and communicating data including power flow, speed and acceleration as well as position gathered from GPS systems. The application of such systems is, at present, largely confined to tracking the location of vehicles and monitoring the performance of batteries. We believe that such data has potential to develop a new maintenance and reliability paradigm for the automotive industry where maintenance patterns are managed on an individual basis for each vehicle based on its previous usage patterns, maintenance records and reliability/condition data. In this way we believe the lifespan of EVs can be optimised leading to greater economic and environmental benefits. 

Aims and Objectives
The aim of this project is to investigate how the life span of ultra low carbon vehicles can be enhanced through the application of the latest asset management tools and techniques utilising the rich data available from telemetry and tracking systems. The focus of the work will be battery electric vehicles or battery systems operating in hybrid vehicles. Furthermore the project will focus on fleet vehicles since these have been one of the major early adopters of ultra low carbon vehicles. 

The detailed objectives for the work are:

• Identify the major components in battery-electric drive trains.
• Identify the frequently occurring failure modes and assess their impact on vehicle operation
• Identify the data currently collected from telemetry systems
• Develop network with UK ULCV manufacturing community
• Develop network with UK ULCV early adopters
• Develop network with UK telematic system providers. 
• Develop roadmap for development of new solutions to apply asset management techniques to maximise ULCV lifespan.

This project is being funded by the EPSRC Centre for Through Life Engineering Services at Cranfield University.