Digital twin for thermal characteristics of electric truck cabin with efficiency-enhancing measures

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The upcoming generation of electric trucks needs to be designed with high efficiency in mind for every component, as this will result in longer driving ranges or increased cargo capacity. Among the most significant energy consumers in these vehicles are cabin heating and cooling systems, so enhancing thermal characteristics is crucial. Thanks to digital twin technology, an optimized truck concept can be developed during the early planning stages.
In the NextETruck European project, this study exhibits a digital twin of a Ford truck cabin with efficiency-improving features. The main goal of the NextETRUCK project is to demonstrate next-generation e-mobility concepts comprised of comprehensive, inventive, affordable, competitive, and synergetic zero emission vehicles and ecosystems for tomorrow's medium freight haulage, acting as a trailblazer in the decarbonization of vehicle fleets.
The truck cabin contains various efficiency-enhancing elements, including isolation, an air-air heat exchanger, and infrared panels. These changes provide significant energy savings while keeping the same level of comfort. The effects of these measures can be modelled in the digital twin so that simulations of the entire system can account for them.
To validate the digital twin and the efficiency-enhancing measures, the thermal characteristics of an original Ford truck cabin were studied. The developed method accurately predicts the thermal interactions between the test case's truck cabin and its environment, demonstrating how precise calculations of thermal behaviour can lead to the efficient reduction of energy consumption.
In summary, this study shows that improving the efficiency of every component of electric trucks, including the cabin's thermal characteristics, can result in significant energy savings, leading to longer driving ranges and more cargo. The digital twin technology provides a powerful tool to optimize electric truck designs early in the planning stages, paving the way for the development of more efficient, environmentally friendly vehicles.
This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2021 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 101056740 NextETruck
Keywords: digital twin, HVAC, electric vehicle, thermal management, truck, Modelica
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThermal Management Systems Symposium 2023
PublisherSAE International
Publication statusPublished - 4 Oct 2023
EventThermal Management Systems Symposium 2023 - Saint John's Resort 44045 Five Mile Road, Plymouth, United States
Duration: 3 Oct 20234 Oct 2023


ConferenceThermal Management Systems Symposium 2023
Country/TerritoryUnited States

Research Field

  • Vehicle System Simulation


  • digital twin
  • HVAC
  • electric vehicle
  • thermal management
  • truck
  • Modelica


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