Currently, it can be assumed that the traffic performance of the urban commercial transport sector will increase significantly over the next decades. Since electric engines are still unprofitable for heavy load transport in urban areas, diesel engines dominate the scene. As a result, the discussion about alternative drives mostly concentrates on passenger transport, although - in contrast to private users- commercial fleet operators fulfill many important requirements which make them ideal pioneer users for electric vehicles. By unilaterally focusing on passenger transport the chance for an electrified urban commercial transport sector to contribute to a low-emission urban transport concept in the future is wasted.
The growing share of decentralized power generation is leading to significantly increased requirements regarding the power distribution grid. Supply by distributed production units can locally lead to voltage range deviations and exceed maximum allowable utilisation of network components. Another challenge for the production of electric energy from renewable resources (e.g. wind and sun) is safeguarding the balance between volatile generation and usage (production and consumption).
As result, there is a need for measures that adjust consumption and storage of energy. However, storing electric energy is quite problematic: Either because there are not enough adequate geological formations available (compressed air energy storage power station, pumped storage energy storage station), energy storage is often only possible short term (e.g. balance wheels) or the storage generates high costs (e.g. stationary battery storage units).
The komDRIVE project is meeting these challenges and developing a holistic strategy in order to solve the problem of ongoing dominance of CO2 intensive diesel engines in the commercial transport sector in combination with its expected growth in traffic performance and solve the problem of electric energy storage and taking the increased proportion of decentralised generated electric energy (locally produced energy) into account.
The project examines which conditions are necessary to make the use of electric vehicles in commercial transport technically, environmentally and economically beneficial and which synergies can be achieved with other areas in particular the electricity industry. This requires the following approach:
- Optimisation of the electrification of commercial transport in urban areas with regards to mobility demands of the fleet operators and reduction of CO2 emissions.
- Determination of the potential to integrate temporary fluctuating fed-in renewable energies through optimisation of the charging process of electrified fleets.
- Identification of a holistic approach for the cost-optimal composition of commercially used vehicle fleets taking the identified synergies into account.
Thus, the central research question of the project is:
Under which basic condition is the use of electric vehicles in urban commercial transport beneficial for the energy supply and how can it become technically, environmentally and economically viable for fleet operators, generators and distribution system operators?
To answer this question the following scientific and technological objectives are defined.
- Development of an operational profile database with various vehicles from two-wheelers to trucks.
- Deduction of the optimal fleet composition taking the degree of electrification into account for specific commercial users.
- Implementation and application of automotive-, fleet-, network- and battery models for the holistic assessment of (partially) electrified fleets.
- Estimation of the potential of ancillary power grid services to improve the efficiency of electrified fleets in urban commercial transport.
- Assessment of environmental and traffic-related effects of a predominantly electrified urban commercial transport sector on the living environment at the urban as well as country level.