Road congestion, air pollution and noise from cars are major issues in many EU cities, affecting health and quality of life. Light electric four wheelers – classified in the EU as electric L-category vehicles (ELVs) – are among the potential alternatives to cars for urban commutes. Sales of these vehicles have however been limited, mainly due to their relatively high cost and limited range.
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To help overcome these barriers, RESOLVE is developing lighter and more energy-efficient parts, as well as lowering manufacturing costs. The innovations to engines, batteries and other components would extend the distance they can travel before recharging is needed, and reduce their market price.
For example, RESOLVE will test technology that recovers the energy generated during braking and re-use it for recharging the battery while on the move. Smart energy management systems will be used to achieve a more efficient use of battery power. Both technologies would add to an ELV’s range.
The innovations will be modular and scalable, with the aim of allowing manufacturers to apply them with a minimum of modification for use on other types of ELVs.
Another priority for the project is to make ELVs easier and more comfortable to drive. RESOLVE will test various approaches, including wheels that tilt and an active vehicle stability system. Both help to balance the vehicle as it is driven.
Other planned innovations include better designed controls and improved protection from adverse weather conditions for drivers.