Electric vehicles are the future and researchers are working on developing such cars to fuel technology and protect the environment. Rising to meet this challenge head on is the E3CAR ('Energy efficient electrical car') project, funded in part by the EU and ENIAC (the European Nanoelectronics Initiative Advisory Council). Its objective is the development of nanoelectronics technologies, specifically for electrical and hybrid vehicles. E3CAR will boost the efficiency of electrical cars using advanced semiconductor components. The results will help Europe gain a solid foothold on such technologies.
E3CAR aims to develop nanoelectronics technologies, devices, circuits, architectures and modules for electrical and hybrid cars, and present these modules in finalised systems. Led by the German company Infineon Technologies AG, the 33-member E3CAR consortium is composed of industry and research partners from 12 European countries including the Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Italy and Norway.
Due to end in 2011, the E3CAR project aims to contribute to Europe's goal of fuelling research in electronic components for electric vehicle power consumption. The consortium is targeting research on semiconductor components and power modules with the capacity to control the supply and distribution of power in these innovative vehicles.
The partners said electrical vehicle efficiency will be improved thanks to the use of advanced semiconductor components in four key areas: power conversion, power management, power distribution network, and smart dynamic monitoring.
By increasing efficiency by more than one third (35%), the E3CAR partners believe electric vehicles will be able to travel further using a battery unit that is the same size as the current battery baseline.
The researchers are focusing on boosting the vehicle's travel range for each battery charge, and on integrating components to make the battery, charge unit and power distribution network lighter, smaller and more economical. The partners also plan to increase the efficiency of the power converter in order to guarantee that as much battery charge as possible is used to 'drive' the vehicle instead of being lost through heat dissipation.
Total funding for the project stands at around EUR 44 million, with half of this stemming from the 33 research and industry partners, and the remaining from the EU, ENIAC and 11 funding bodies in Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway and Spain.
Ultimately, the work carried out by the E3CAR partners will fuel the advancement of technologies for environmentally friendly and energy-efficient vehicles. The project will help the EU meet its targets for developing green technologies, curbing carbon emissions and reducing fossil fuel liquids consumption.