The Green Garage Blog is proud to introduce a new series of blog posts: “Sponsor Success Thursdays!” For the next 15 weeks, we’ll set Thursday aside to put up a team post and YouTube video highlighting collaboration with one or more of our great sponsors. First up is the University of Waterloo, which collaborated with FleetCarma to design a vehicle that meets customer needs. The video the team produced about this relationship won it the Sponsor Collaboration Video award at this year’s EcoCAR 2 Competition.
When a group of engineers sets out to design a vehicle, especially a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle where fuel economy is paramount, there is a lot more to think about than the look and feel. In order to connect with the consumer it is important to understand them and their driving habits, so that the specific needs of consumers can be met in the most efficient way possible. What better way to apply this design philosophy than using the driving habits recorded in over 171,675 km of driving data provided by FleetCarma.
When the University of Waterloo Alternative Fuels Team (UWAFT) began to design its EcoCAR, the team looked over all the combinations of fuel types, motor sizes and architectures, and quickly realized there were thousands of different options. The challenge that faced the team was determining the appropriate combination of engine, motors, energy sources and energy storage systems that would meet the majority of customers needs. That’s when the team turned to FleetCarma.
FleetCarma is a division of CrossChasm Technologies Inc. The majority of the team at FleetCarma has graduated from advanced vehicle competitions similar to EcoCAR 2. The co‐founder and CEO of CrossChasm, Matt Stevens, was co-team captain of UWAFT from 2004-‐2006 and participated in Challenge X. Chris Shum was a member of UWAFT during EcoCAR: The Next Challenge and currently works at CrossChasm on the controls engineering team. These two individuals are just a few examples of the opportunities EcoCAR 2 provides to participants.
FleetCarma offers a system to fleet managers to help them make better-‐informed purchasing decisions when expanding or updating their fleets. The process involves connecting the data logger to current gasoline-powered fleet vehicles for approximately three weeks to collect data on driving distances, locations and driving habits. The information collected is then applied to a vehicle model that simulates how an electric vehicle would perform under the exact same driving habits of the fleet. This information provides the fleet manager with the ability to determine the total cost of ownership of the proposed electric vehicles prior to incorporating them into their fleet.
FleetCarma’s technology helped UWAFT refine the development process to make more informed decisions on vehicle architecture and powertrain components. Their collection process resulted in over 171,000 km worth of driving data, which is equivalent to driving from Vancouver to Halifax 28 times. From this data UWAFT was able to extrapolate and process key metrics including average speed, trip distance, acceleration, power and load requirements. This data was then used to determine driving habits of a broad customer segment. For example, Canadians do not exceed 150km/h top speed and 80% of Canadians drive 70 km or less per day. The collected patterns allowed UWAFT to form a set of technical performance targets that were subsequently incorporated into the design process as guides. The data indicated that we required a design that would allow drivers to travel a minimum of 70 km per trip and therefore UWAFT picked a battery that could support this distance without needing to be recharged. Through UWAFT’s partnership with FleetCarma, the team was able to translate driving habits into technical specifications, which ultimately allowed UWAFT to build a vehicle that meets the documented needs of customers.
FleetCarma is breaking ground in the electric vehicle industry and EcoCAR 2 is proud to have them on board. Their system helps organizations reduce their vehicle cost, fuel consumption and emissions to advance the adoption of electric vehicles now and into the future. Learn more about UWAFT-FleetCarma collaboration in the video below!