Rhodas pathways towards impact

In line with the European Green Deal objectives, the targets set in the Paris Agreement, the EU 2030 Climate & Energy Framework and the European Roadmap on the “Electrification of Road Transport”, the research and innovation activities of the RHODaS project are expected to make measurable contributions in medium-term to achieve the targets displayed below.

Click on the icon on the left of each section to read the details of the RHODaS contribution to each Key Impact Pathway. 

RHODaS will develop novel converter topologies, integrating different technologies such as advanced wide band gap semiconductors for high-voltage traction power trains, novel semiconductor materials and optimised thermal management systems within the Integrated Motor Drives. Advanced control strategies based on artificial intelligence will contribute to achieve cost reduction of powertrains, increasing the affordability and promoting a full-market penetration of heavy-duty electric vehicles.

This thermal performance of the powertrains and the extension of the truck driving range in a 10% will be achieved by exploiting the wide frequency range of the wide band gap materials integrated in the powertrains. Hybrid switches will increase the temperature of operation. A more effective hybrid thermal management system combining micro liquid-cooling and air-cooling systems to mitigate negative effects of high current on health and ageing of the materials and components will also be implemented.

RHODaS will achieve a significant reduction of size and of weight, taking advantage of the application of galium nitride and hybrid configurations of silicon-gallium nitride to boost performance using the minimum amount of material, according to eco-design principles. The benefits of using the new semiconductors materials include the possibility of further reducing the size, weight and cost of the power conditioning and thermal systems, resulting in a system volume reduction up to 40%.

RHODaS will implement the integration of the DC/DC into the DC/AC converters with a phase-based modular strategy, achieving a greater efficiency level (+5%) in the integrated motor drive due to less energetic losses at the power conversion (-40%), and easier installation compared to present technologies. In addition, RHODaS circular design strategies will allow to develop circular product concepts by using 3D design and simulation of modular power electronics to ease further dismantling and reusing of components and materials.

RHODaS will implement the most advanced digital, simulation and AI technologies tools to improve the robustness, reliability and lifetime of power converters through different approaches. Sensors will be embedded within the materials and components of the integrated motor drive for an advanced monitoring of the system in real time, while cloud computing, big data, artificial intelligence, machine learning algorithms and IoT platforms will form a complete digital twin to optimise design, operations, reduce failures and extend lifecycle of the materials.

The use of new materials, thermal management system and converter designs in RHODaS will contribute to achieve more robust and reliable powertrain systems. In addition, the intelligent control and diagnostic techniques coupled with the predictive maintenance models will greatly contribute to achieve high quality levels. The quality of the powertrains using RHODaS technologies will be thoroughly evaluated by implementing performance and safety tests under different scenarios according to automotive standards.

In RHODaS, priority will be given to the development of drivetrains for zero emission heavy-duty long-haul vehicles, where progress is significantly lagging behind other sectors of road transportation in the EU, by establishing a close collaboration between academia and industry to promote electric road transport, converting European mobility in a zero-emission one and boosting the global competitiveness of the EU transport sector.

The modular converter developed in RHODaS can be applied not only to heavy-duty vehicles, but also to all the other categories of electric vehicles such as Light-duty Vehicles (e.g., Passenger Cars), Medium-duty Passenger Vehicles, Light-Duty Trucks, either powered by batteries or fuel cells, thus allowing to accelerate the market uptake of RHODaS innovations.

By including environmentally friendly and ecodesign approaches, RHODaS aims at promoting an increase in the societal awareness and user acceptance of the benefits of the innovative electric powertrain developed and, more in general, of electric heavy-duty vehicles utilisation: through the actions that will be implemented, the project will constantly pursue engaging society to ensure wider public acceptance by providing an increased understanding of the benefits Electric Vehicles utilisation for an improved air quality in Europe.

In RHODaS, a highly effective WBG-based power converter design for IMDs is integrated with digital tools in a holistic approach, where ecodesign and circularity concepts are contemplated, to create compact and modular solutions that can be integrated in a wide range of heavy-duty vehicles and also easily applicable to light-duty vehicles. RHODaS will assess circular business models considering materials and components, which can be applied in other sectors, contributing to reducing environmental impacts to foster the commercial deployment of these technologies.