How can you assess the performance of an electric car in the real world as a taxi or commercial vehicle, without needing to put actual electric vehicles in service?
Well, as they say, there’s an app for that.
In Munich, Germany, a fleet of 130 virtual electric cars is hitting the streets, in the form of smartphones and accompanying software installed in taxis and commercial vehicles, which can capture a number of variables, and reveal data about the real world performance of electric cars in those types of transport scenarios.
The smartphones are courtesy of the Technical University of Munich (TUM), and will record the exact location (via GPS), as well as driving behavior, such as the acceleration and deceleration of the vehicle, along with the number and frequency of turns made. After the data is collected, TUM software will then analyze it and calculate the corresponding energy consumption and the charge status for the virtual electric vehicle’s battery.
The point of the study of this fleet of virtual electric cars is to analyze how actual electric vehicles would perform during similar operational cycles, in terms of both economics and environmental impact.
“This will show various taxi and commercial operators that partial electrification of their fleet would not only be technical feasible, but would already today offer economic and environmental benefits.” – Benedikt Jäger, engineer at TUM’s Institute of Automotive Technology
In addition to the virtual electric car study, a real electric vehicle will be used to validate the collected data. It is hoped that this study will inform the infrastructure needs, such as charging stations, that would be necessary for taxi companies and those operating commercial vehicles, in order for them to deploy more electric vehicles.
[Image: Benedikt Jäger (TUM), Florian Bachmann (Taxi association), Gunnar Heipp (SWM/MVG), Dr. Jürgen Gaulke (Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology), Dr. Wolfgang Christl (Chamber of Crafts) – Photo: SWM]