To achieve a carbon-neutral society, competition among companies to develop xEV vehicles, focusing on large commercial vehicles with effective reduction of exhaust emissions, is accelerating. This study examines the significance of xEV electric trucks in a carbon-neutral society, proposes effective development strategies, and presents the results of a competitive xEV electric truck development project based on the strategies. Based on the analysis of trends in xEV development, Europe is expected to focus on developing short-distance urban cargo BEVs by 2024, while the US is expected to focus on developing mid-range tractors. Although all manufacturers except Tesla are preparing for FCEVs, only Hino and Nikola are expected to launch mass-produced FCEV models before 2025. Despite the need to shift from internal combustion engine vehicles to electric vehicles to achieve a carbon-neutral society, it is still difficult to find competitive large electric trucks compared to diesel engine vehicles in the market. The main challenge is the limited energy density of xEVs. To achieve the same range per charge (AER) as diesel engine vehicles, BEVs require about 44 times the weight of energy (battery), while FCEVs require about five times the weight of energy (hydrogen). To compete with diesel engine vehicles, xEVs must solve the energy density problem, and FCEVs are overwhelmingly superior to BEVs in terms of energy density with current technology. However, the complexity of the systems that must be included in FCEVs to compose a vehicle increases compared to BEVs. Therefore, to develop competitive large xEV trucks, a new engineering process is needed that departs from experience in developing internal combustion engines and finds the best balance between the necessary systems that must be included while providing enough energy in a limited space. This study proposes a new engineering process for developing large xEV trucks, evaluates the performance of the developed trucks, and presents the results. According to the methodology presented, xEV development involves a three-stage development process. The first stage involves setting the product goals of the vehicle and determining the early architecture of the vehicle, which includes determining the output of the battery/stack and the torque/output size of the motor. Once the requirements for the major systems have been established through the Early Architecture stage, the next stage involves developing the hardware to meet those requirements, which is known as Architecture Development. In this stage, the design parameters of the system unit must be defined while considering harmony from the perspective of the entire vehicle, and expandability from the perspective of derivative vehicles based on modular systems must also be secured. The final stage is Component Design, where optimization of not only hardware but also software parameters is performed to maximize system performance. For some systems where modular parts cannot be used, customized systems can be applied to ensure product diversity by vehicle type.
Mr. KWANG CHAN KO, Senior Research Engineer, Hyundai Motor Group