IFAM: AI in Fast Charging Parks for eTrucks


The electric truck market worldwide is projected to grow to 324,100 units by 2026, up from some 10,200 commercial vehicles in 2018, according to STATISTA (November 2021). This represents a compound annual growth rate of around 75 percent, between 2020 and 2026, which comes with its own challenges for the logistics companies, for the charging parks operators, the technical and economic ramifications including the pressure to support and stabilize the local energy grids.

Research Partners: Fraunhofer IFAM & E:E Consulting GmbH, together with industry partners

Our approach is to bring together an international consortium, led by a team of scientists from Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Technology and Advanced Materials (IFAM) and energy and e-mobility experts from E:E Consulting, and set up a preliminary research approach that favors the usage of an AI-based energy management system. This international consortium includes truck manufacturers, energy suppliers, charging infrastructure manufacturers, logistics platform operators, Virtual Power Plant (VPP) providers, University R&D, and more.

Operational challenges

In Germany, and in Europe overall, the expansion of the charging infrastructure is a crucial element meant to support the market ramp-up for battery-electric trucks, while making a significant contribution to achieving the CO2 emission targets. As more truck producers develop new models, the infrastructure, together with the adjacent services, needs to keep up. With support from the European Commission, new funding is available through HorizonEurope or the Global Gateway, a new European strategy to boost smart, clean, and secure links in digital, energy, and transport sectors and to strengthen health, education, and research systems across the world.

Major benefits identified

The goal of this research project is to anticipate and create efficient solutions, scaled up for the entire European infrastructure, aiming at creating solutions for 3 major challenges:

  • Economic – supporting the growth and optimal functioning of the logistic companies as well as for the charging parks operators – forecasting and aiming to reduce the expenses for charging by revenues from flexible services and utilizing comparatively cheaper energy, from renewable sources, therefore aiming for variable electricity purchase prices.
  • Infrastructure – projects provide support for the stabilization of the local energy grid, by acting as a stationary storage device with a huge capacity, thus adapting the local RES production to the local energy market all over the EU countries, and using the surplus energy to charge the eTrucks and from eTrucks back to the grid, during energy deficit times. This approach would provide grid stabilization, by handling issues like excess energy demand, reactive power, and grid harmonics.
  • Climate Change – meeting targets across the European space, by optimizing the self-consumption of the RES system and by shifting the times at which electricity is drawn in units of time with a high proportion of renewable energies.

Please do not hesitate to get in touch with us for scheduling a conversation with one of our Partners, to find out more about the project and identify opportunities for your organization.

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