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OpEner: The new electric car that is getting closer than the conventional vehicles

Projects news & results: 02/05/2014 - 02:00
OpEner is a research project in creating an overall energy management system for electric cars that merges on-board and off-board data together to run energy optimal driving strategies.

Overview: Why and what is OpEneR?

The European drivers still show reluctance to use electric cars. They use to think that in long distances the car can easily remain without battery. So if they are in the middle of the way it will be more difficult recharge a battery than a deposit of fuel. And the truth is that an electric car battery has at least 10 times less energy store than a car that works with gas.

Since May 2011 six partners from Germany, France, Austria and Spain, co-funded by the European Commission, are working in OpEneR. It is all about a research project in creating an overall energy management system for electric cars that merges on-board and off-board data together to run energy optimal driving strategies. For example, it can improve the energy self-sufficiency, better anticipation and economization on consumption… The development of combined functionalities in the same car has allowed that its energy efficiency has improved between 20% and 30%.

Prediction: OpEneR makes use of a prediction system for the car that avoids wasting more energy than necessary. The vehicle relies on a sensors network that calculates distances and predicts when the car has to reduce the speed, when a semaphore is turned red to not consume unnecessary battery. In addition, OpEneR has a GPS-System with 3D maps with which the car knows how much energy is going to need for the route considering the altitude variations.

Energy self-sufficiency: One more reason why OpEneR will change the electric car sector is the possibility to produce and store energy itself. While gas cars can just spend energy, this electric car can also use its own movement to generate energy. That is what is happening when the car goes down a hill and, at the same time, OpEneR recharges the battery with transformed energy.

Network of communication: OpEneR is also able to communicate with its driver or even with other cars. This car holds an integrated communication system to share information with the users and respond to its driver about how efficiently it is being driven. For example, if the driver is using too much energy for running, OpEneR warns the user by the accelerator pedal.

Energy Saving: Another innovation about the way that this car can save energy tries to do the driver experience more comfortable. OpEneR is able to regulate the temperature inside the car and keep it in order to avoid getting the heating and after all

Results: These improvements have been already proved during the last 3 years and now, in July of 2014, OpEneR project is going to finish with a final test in Spain where all the simulations done until now are going to operate at the same time on an experimental basis. Although OpEneR is a specific project about cars 100% electric, the benefits that it reports are no just useful for green vehicles but also for the entire car sector. These innovative applications can be used as well for cars with hybrid or fuel motors improving their energy efficiency.