The MobiCar project was an initiative of the Mobility Industries PCT in collaboration with the Information, Communication and Electronic Technologies (TICE) and Energy PCTs, within the Electric Mobility Program (Mobi.E). It addressed the design, development , testing and demonstration of the main modules that incorporate the new mobility requirements (seats, exteriors, interiors and engines) and energy and information systems with application to different platforms for electric mobility environments (city, passenger, among other applications).
The project took place from 2010 to 2013. The SYSTEC team researched the powertrain for the urban car prototype developed.
Related work strengthened the team in technologic competences in the domain electric mobility namely Li-ions batteries and active balancing, and traction controllers, an emerging and society significant domain. The project itself was perfectly aligned with public policies.
Three lessons were learned by the team:
The Li-ions battery life-time would not allow at applying them as a base to support the requirements of storage put by a grid within a frame of high penetration of renewables as it is from now ahead. So the team launched a deep analysis with colleagues from Chemical Engineering in order to find technologic alternatives;
The knowledge core on Li-ions batteries and application in a regulated voltage bus should be extended to local companies focused at the business of electric mobility;
As well as, the same approach in extending the knowledge in traction controllers.
From the first lesson the performed analysis carried out to enlarge the results with EFACEC company and prepare a consortium to launch the project Power Flow - Development of Energy Storage Systems. It was centred at improving the performance of flow batteries – the team doubled the power density of this technology in a 30 kW prototype - and interconnecting them with the grid, supporting grid services.
This successful project enlarged the vision on the subject and the consortium launched a CoLab on Storage energy – the Vasco da Gama CoLab –associating an IST team and some companies interested in storage technologies to support the electric network, namely EDP the grid operator. Vasco da Gama CoLab was approved and launched in 2019. It runs successfully right now.
Simultaneously, the team launched a formal cooperation with the company Caetano Bus that started to move to design and manufacture electric buses, at the end of last decade. We worked together within the projects “Electric Vehicle Enhancement”, 2011, “ Urban Electric Bus”, 2013, and from 2019, “H2-UI4PT: H2 Usage Improvement for Public Transport”, all of them centred at designing the bus powertrain. Last project produces a H2 based bus, based on a hybrid power source constituted by a fuel cell and a Li-ions battery. Last July, The research team and Cbus submitted a candidature to launch a common R&D centre to develop traction technologies.
Another consequence and product is the launching and the technologic support of two successful companies: Nomad Tech - https://www.nomadtech.pt/; and ADDVOLT - https://www.addvolt.com/en/. The first one powering railways traction modules with high power IGBTs, the second one working technologic solutions for goods transportation with refrigeration in electric mode, recovering braking energy from the trucks and hybridizing it with battery energy.
Both of them share the international market, namely the German one.
Last July, the core of entities, SYSTEC, Cbus and Nomad Tech organized a consortium with CP, railways Portuguese operator to submit a project, approved at first stage, centred at upgrading a train fleet to hydrogen technology as energy source.
Finally, last September, SYSTEC team (within U. Porto) is member of the consortium led by EDP Inovação that submitted the unique proposal in the field of hydrogen as energy vector to organize a Collaborative Laboratory on researching and developing technologies for hydrogen usage as energy storage subsystem for supporting the grid.
In fact the Mobicar project significantly impacted either in the team research activity depenning the knowledge in the field of electric mobility or in a set of local and Portuguese companies trough common platforms accelerating the development of technology and making to grow the enabled capacity of them, a few at a stage of beginners.