Optimised energy management and use (OPTEMUS) represents an opportunity for overcoming one of the biggest barriers towards large scale adoption of electric and plug-in hybrid cars: range limitation due to limited storage capacity of electric batteries.

The OPTEMUS project proposes to tackle this bottleneck by leveraging low energy consumption and energy harvesting through a holistic vehicle-occupant-centred approach, considering space, cost and complexity requirements. Specifically, OPTEMUS intends to develop a number of innovative core technologies (Integrated thermal management system comprising the compact refrigeration unit and the compact HVAC unit, battery housing and insulation as thermal and electric energy storage, thermal energy management control unit, regenerative shock absorbers) and complementary technologies (localised conditioning, comprising the smart seat with implemented TED and the smart cover panels, PV panels) combined with intelligent controls (eco-driving and eco-routing strategies, predictive cabin preconditioning strategy with min. energy consumption, electric management strategy).

The combined virtual and real-life prototyping and performance assessment in a state of the art, on-the-market Asegment electric vehicle (Fiat 500e) of this package of technologies will allow demonstrating a minimum of 32% of energy consumption reduction for component cooling and 60% for passenger comfort, as well as an additional 15% being available for traction, leading to an increase of the driving range in extreme weather conditions of at least 44 km (38%) in a hot ambient and 63 km (70%) in a cold ambient.

OPTEMUS Technologies


  • Project Budget: 6.39 Mio €
  • Project Start Date: 1. June 2015
  • Project Duration: 45 Months
  • Project End Date: 29. February 2019

OPTEMUS Key Results

The compact refrigeration unit (CRU) is the core part of the heat pump system, which is used in the demonstrator vehicle. It consists of  an electric A/C compressor with a displacement of 34 cm3, two aluminum water-refrigerant heat exchangers (condenser and evaporator) and a thermostatic expansion valve (TXV). The manufactured prototype was tested and evaluated on a test bench, which proved the performance and efficiency of the system.

Eco-driving is nowadays considered to be an effective and inexpensive way of reducing the energy consumption linked to the transport of people or goods. Generally, the idea is that there are different ways of driving a specific journey which are not equivalent from an energy consumption point of view. Eventually, the objective is to find the optimal one.

In OPTEMUS, the principle of the eco-driving strategy is to inform the driver of the energy consumption characteristics of the immediately previous driving behavior in order to improve the future ones (i.e. eco-coaching). Such a guidance evaluates the driving style by means of a score and comparing it with an optimal driving profile which minimizes energy consumption. The eco-driving assistance is capable of suggesting the actions to take in order to approach the optimal behavior. These suggestions are provided to the driver by means of an interface (i.e. smartphone application), and they are updated during the trip at each vehicle speed inflection point.

Eco-routing navigation aims to find the most energy-efficient route in a vehicular road network to travel from an origin to a destination. It may be seen as an optimization problem where the function to be minimized is the energy consumption of the vehicle. Such an optimization problem depends on several variables and constraints, different in nature and difficult to know or estimate: vehicle parameters, network topology, traffic conditions, road grade, driving style, etc.

In OPTEMUS, eco-routing for electric vehicles presents some specific features, such as the presence of regenerative braking and thus of negative energy costs, which makes necessary an improvement of the standard route search algorithms.

Especially in urban environment, due to traffic conditions and road altitude profile, it is easily shown that the eco-route is not only more energy-efficient than the fastest route, but also than the shortest route.

The Regenerative Shock Absorber (RSA) is one of the energy harvesting devices in the OPTEMUS project. Two prototypes of RSA were designed, manufactured and tested at the bench. The additional components allowing energy harvesting, namely a hydraulic motor and an electric motor, were custom designed and fully integrated together and with the damper body. A maximum conversion efficiency of 30% has been measured during bench tests.

Prototypes of RSA offer the possibility to modify the damping curve by varying the electrical characteristics of the circuit connected to the electric motor. This allows the possibility to change in an adaptive way or in real time the damping level, depending on the driving scenario (road conditions and driver maneuvers) and on the control mode (Sport, Comfort, Eco, etc.) selected by the driver, like a current production electronically-controlled damper.

Both developed prototypes of RSA can be installed in the front and rear suspensions of the B-class SUV Fiat 500X.

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