If the NextETRUCK consortium would summarise its annual meeting at the premises of FORD-OTOSAN in Istanbul it would be “progress”. Progress was presented in each of the currently active work packages and progress was achieved in various discussions related to pilot plans and outlines related to vehicle telematics, thermal management, vehicle analysis tools and outreach. Thanks to the hospitality of the consortium partner of FORD-OTOSAN, who hosted the event at their R&D center on the Asian side of Istanbul, new connections were made and plans for the pilot preparation phase were set up. The next meeting of the consortium will be the mid-term review in Brussels in February 2024.
An important focus during the discussion was the finalization of the work packages related to the optimization framework. This framework aims to improve the vehicle system architecture, ultimately lowering the total cost of ownership – a key performance indicator within the NextETRUCK project.
Another important topic was the thermal control system of the battery and cabin. Preliminary study results have shown confidence that project partners can improve the thermal controls of the trucks by increasing the efficiency of the system by 15% due to a significant reduction of energy used for cabin heating. Nevertheless, the real-world tests that are planned to start in late 2024 or early 2025 will provide conclusive evidence.
Besides the physical aspects of the electric truck, digital aspects such as fleet connection via telematics were discussed. Such digital system infrastructure is necessary to assess and plan charging procedures, monitor battery health, and plan the optimal use of existing charging infrastructure on the road or in depots. The logistics and routing system integration, which is currently in the planning process, will determine when and where to charge, by considering prices and charging speeds, which determine the duration of the stop and the cost of operation.
In addition to content discussions, consortium partners had the chance to get to know each other for the second time after the kick-off meeting. Social events, such as a boat ride to Burgazada island in the Marmara Sea, as well as a wonderful dinner, helped the partners to relax and liaise.