The NextETRUCK project, aimed at decarbonising urban logistics with zero-emission electric trucks, is making substantial progress in optimising vehicle performance. The consortium recently submitted a significant deliverable focused on enhancing the efficiency of the thermal management system with remarkable results, led by AIT, AVL, CIDETEC, and TECNALIA. One of NextETRUCK’s goals is to improve the thermal design of the cabin, impacting not only driver comfort and well-being but also contributing to operational efficiency and environmental sustainability. The “Report on improvement potentials of the proposed portfolio of measures for increasing the efficiency of the vehicle thermal management system” analyses electric trucks operating with significantly improved thermal efficiency, reducing energy consumption and extending their range. The project partners aim to achieve outstanding outcomes by fine-tuning the thermal management system. By adjusting the coolant circuit, the team seeks to reach efficiency improvements ranging from 2.5% to an impressive 40% in various situations. These enhancements translate into substantial energy savings and decreased reliance on battery power. Maintaining comfortable cabin temperatures is essential for driver well-being and efficient operation. The report shows how cabin climate control energy requirements are reduced by up to 30%, contributing to increased range and overall sustainability. A control strategy ensures that the improved system functions at its best.

The schematic representation of the cabin and HVAC model

These advancements directly align with NextETRUCK’s core objectives by significantly enhancing vehicle thermal efficiency, targeted for a 15% improvement. This improved efficiency also means a longer range per energy unit, supporting the project’s goal of achieving a 10% increase and enabling cleaner, emission-free deliveries over extended distances.

The Thermal management system layout variant 6

The report lays a solid foundation for developing digital twins and integrating the enhanced thermal system in the project’s use cases, paving the way for more targeted optimizations and practical implementation in real-world scenarios. “As a part of this project, we will investigate a series of energy efficiency measures for truck cabins, such as the implementation of infra-red heating panels, re-design of the Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) system with heat recovery or development of digital-twin-based control strategy for thermal management. More importantly, these measures will be validated in practice: the final stage of the project envisions the implementation and demonstration of the project developments on three pilot sites in Türkiye, the UK and Spain to test and compare their performance with the existing medium freight haulage systems”, Mirza Popovac (AIT).

The NextETRUCK project is actively shaping the future of clean and efficient urban deliveries. This recent deliverable on thermal management system innovation marks a significant milestone, and the project’s commitment to sustainability continues to inspire. To delve deeper into the groundbreaking achievements of the NextETRUCK project and its ongoing journey toward sustainable urban logistics, explore the following resources:

  • Popovac, M. Robust Eddy Viscosity Turbulence Modeling with Elliptic Relaxation and Compound Wall Treatment. Energies 2023, 16, 3685.
  • Gellai I., Popovac M., Simic, D. Digital twin for thermal characteristics of electric truck cabin with efficiency-enhancing measures. Thermal Management Systems Symposium. October 3 – 4, 2023. Plymouth, Michigan, USA.