Photo credits @ AVL

Intelligent energy management system for fuel cell trucks to be developed in UK-Austrian collaboration

Austrian mobility technology company AVL has joined forces with British start-up Spark EV Technology to develop an intelligent energy management system. This system, tailored for commercial vehicles, utilizes simulations and machine learning to predict the exact energy requirements for a specific route, enabling energy-optimized journey planning and operation.

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Fuel cell vehicles play a crucial role in the transition towards sustainable mobility, particularly for commercial vehicles demanding high performance, the two companies believe. To instil greater confidence in fuel cell technology, AVL and Spark EV Technology have collaborated to develop this innovative solution.

The system leverages patented control algorithms and cutting-edge software for predicting energy requirements. By utilizing a digital map provider, routes can be planned, ensuring energy and cost efficiency. This approach involves simulating a journey with a virtual lorry, known as a digital twin, to accurately assess the energy demand per kilometre based on factors such as route characteristics, altitude profile, driving behaviour, load, and traffic volume.

Thanks to Spark EV Technology’s machine learning-driven energy prediction software, the predictions are becoming increasingly precise, enabling optimized fuel cell operation and reduced energy consumption. This, in turn, leads to enhanced fuel efficiency and sustainability in fleet operations.

The system further optimizes energy management by suggesting when to draw energy from the battery to alleviate the load on the fuel cell. When power requirements are high or the battery charge level is low, the fuel cell is activated. This intelligent operating strategy aims to minimize hydrogen consumption while adapting and minimizing battery size.

By employing gentle operation, the system extends the service life of costly components and reduces maintenance costs. Fleet operators can utilize this technology to evaluate the feasibility of incorporating fuel cell vehicles into their fleets, demonstrating the potential profitability of such a transition.

Spark EV Technology CEO Justin Ott said:

 Hydrogen will play a critical role in the energy mix for commercial vehicles. Our plan is to provide a solution that optimises FCEV performance and removes range and refuelling anxiety by providing confidence in highly accurate, up-to-date range availability and optimising hydrogen fuel consumption to enable more fleets to make the switch faster and provide manufacturers with a realistic FCEV option.

Dominik Brunner, Lead Engineer Integration & Validation AVL, added:

By choosing the right energy source at the right point of the journey, the solution reduces energy consumption and is therefore an important step towards sustainable and more cost-effective transport. We look forward to seeing what comes out of the partnership with Spark EV Technology and exploring how we can help more manufacturers make the transition to zero-emission vehicles.