Implementing electromobility is especially challenging for general cargo logistics: In this sector, it is essential to be fast, on time and reliable. For this reason, logistics providers need transport vehicles that are disposable at all times and without any constraints. Because of their need to be recharged after a certain number of kilometers driven, electric vehicles have a disadvantage in terms of disposability compared to diesel-powered trucks. For logistics providers, the operation of electric vehicles is only economically worthwhile if a central fleet management system decides in a needs-based way whether an electric truck or a Diesel truck is better suited for a given tour. Therefore, the integration of electric trucks into the vehicle fleets of logistics providers requires an intelligent control mechanism that compensates for any disadvantages and uses dynamic route planning to allocate transport missions to electric trucks only if they are able to carry out the missions with the same level of reliability as Diesel trucks. Battery state, cargo planning and the length of distribution routes are the most important parameters for this decision.
The key development focus of the »iHub« project is on establishing a prototypical IT platform for the aforementioned purposes. In addition to addressing technological challenges, the iHUB system will also make sure that the solution developed presents an economically viable alternative to conventional truck fleets. In order to optimize the fleet's overall economic efficiency, the »State of Use«, which refers to the level of battery degradation, and other parameters that facilitate the consistent operation of electric vehicles are taken into consideration. For this reason, the new Framo electric truck that has been operated within the context of the iHUB project on the roads of Berlin since February, 2018 is equipped with a new e-truck navigation system and its operation is accompanied by a comprehensive measuring campaign. Within this campaign, battery data are recorded and evaluated in real-time. Suitable mathematic algorithms detect key parameters of daily operation and derive information on battery stress. At the end of the campaign, the results are to be transferred to larger vehicle fleets. If the systemic advantages of electromobility – such as lower greenhouse gas and noise emissions – can be exploited for the operation of a mixed vehicle fleet in a beneficial way with the help of IT methods, an important development step towards post-fossil fuel, emission-free logistics will have been completed.
After the six consortium partners had already started working on their tasks in January, 2016, the project was officially kicked off in March. The results were presented in October, 2019 at a roadshow event with the title »Klimaneutrale Logistik – (un)möglich?« (»Climate-Neutral Logistics – (Im)possible?«).
The project received funding within the scope of the »IKT für Elektromobilität III« program of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy.