ViriCiti’s ‘vEMS’ shocks the world of electric vehicles

ViriCiti achieves large range improvements in Electric Vehicles using their unique vehicle Energy Management System (vEMS). ViriCiti’s vEMS is a fully automated IT system that matches vehicle energy consumption with planned routes. Unlike vehicle monitoring systems, vEMS automatically detects low battery situations hours in advance, therefore providing the vehicle operator unparalleled reliability during daily operation.

vEMS is designed to help electric fleet operators monitor and analyse the status of their electronic vehicles and avoid empty batteries in daily operation. vEMS achieves significant range improvements by turning down non-crucial features, such as heating systems and high-speed acceleration. This results in a very reliable system which guarantees drivers with non-empty batteries for the remainder of their scheduled route.

Traditional fleet management systems operate with a ‘safe-zone’ in place. This safe-zone can be described as the range the electric vehicle will achieve regardless of driving styles and/or weather conditions. This results in routes being scheduled far shorter than is possible with the electric vehicle. This severely limits the number of miles per charge cycle the vehicles can reach, reducing the overall effectiveness of electronic transportation. What sets-apart vEMS; is that it monitors and analyses the power conditions of the electric vehicle in real-time and modifies its scheduled routes accordingly. If for example the battery is half-full reaching the end of its trip the electric vehicle can be scheduled to be used in another trip hours in advance. This results in a more efficient and cost-effective use of electronic vehicles in planned (public and freight) transportation, reducing the number of vehicles required by operators to ensure continuous operation.

Meet the team

The ViriCiti story starts in 2012 when a small group of students wondered why electric busses weren’t used for transportation. With fixed routes and ‘easy’ access to charging stations Jan-Willem Heinen (CEO) imagined it to be the ideal market for electronic vehicles. A quick study uncovered that a large problem with electric vehicles was their range unreliability. In fear of running out of power, buses and transportation vehicles alike are scheduled for fractions of their daily achievable mileage, resulting in a very cost-inefficient means of transportation. Together with Simon Rijk (CTO), Freek Dielissen (CFO) and Alexander Schabert the ViriCiti vEMS solution was thought out that significantly improves the operational cost-effectiveness of any scheduled electronic transportation vehicle operator.

Founded in the end of 2012; this  multi-national and multi-disciplinary team from Eindhoven-, Delft- and Munich- Universities applied for the Climate-KIC Accelerator to help further develop their solution. Being accepted in 2013 the team began to develop their business plan and received its first round of funding and coaching through the Accelerator. Now, 1.5 years later, ViriCiti enters the final stages of the programme – Delivery – and begins to roll-out its solutions to several customers; including fleet operators and Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM’s).

The Climate-KIC Accelerator made it possible to validate the existence of a market and helped to expand into other markets. The funding received during the enabled development of a high quality IT framework which is ready for universal application in ‘machine-2-machine’ operations. As an example, ViriCiti highlights the opportunity of their system in industrial automation, maritime and stationary energy applications.

During the course of the programme the team’s vision and market positioning shifted from a focus on electronic buses to the much larger market of transportation using electrified trucks. Although ViriCiti is still very much active in the first; with ongoing negotiations with one of the largest electric bus manufacturers in the world. It secured its first launching customer with HyTruck; pursuing zero emission in transport by implementing hydrogen- and battery-electric trucks.

Exploring the market of Electronic Transportation

HyTruck helped ViriCiti enter a market that was previously seen as one of many potential alternatives. “It is funny how our vision changed from application in electric buses to all electronic vehicles, realising our solution can offer significant range extensions and major performance benefits in many other applications” says Jan-Willem Heinen (CEO). This is mostly due to the ability to increase the effective range of electric vehicles mid-operation; giving notifications to drivers to increase performance and if needed remotely turn-off wasteful features to start preserving energy many hours in advance.

The market segment of electronic distribution trucks is expected to increase rapidly in the upcoming years. Almost all projects are being funded by the EU; the largest of which is the Freight Electric Vehicles in Urban Europe (FREVUE) project. This project supports the concrete purchase of electric distribution vehicles for immediate application in eight major EU cities: Amsterdam, Lisbon, London, Madrid, Milan, Oslo, Rotterdam and Stockholm. ViriCiti identified the significance of this project and engaged in far-reaching and fruitful negotiations with international OEMs and operators connected to this project.

In this distinction OEMs are found to be increasingly interested in the “connected vehicle”. Monitoring of vehicles enables OEMs to have better insights for future developments, but also to give the customer a better after‐sales service. Once a problem occurs, the OEM can support the customer in real‐time by logging on to the vehicle and evaluating the vehicle parameters. This remote vehicle diagnostic can be extended with the ViriCiti product to deliver a strong positive enhancement to their own product. This will, on a short term, provide significant performance benefits to end-users and enable ViriCiti as a start-up to reach international markets.

Powering on

Does this strategy work? Having recently moved to a new location due to a lack of office space things are looking bright. ViriCiti proved to be innovative and quick to market and experiences a significant lead-time compared to its direct competitors. With several projects under their belt and expanding into different markets the team is aiming to secure its position as one of the most efficient and cost-effective electronic Vehicle Management System provider on the planet.

Details

For more information, please visit the website or contact:

Phone: +31 (0)20 771 7817
Willem de Zwijgerlaan 350-352, 1055RD
Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Team Members: 

  • NL – Simon Rijk MSc. (Aerospace Engineer, Delft University)
  • NL – Freek Dielissen MSc. (Mechanical Engineer, Eindhoven University)
  • DE – Alexander Schabert MSc. (Mechanical Engineer, Munich University)
  • NL – Jan-Willem Heinen MSc. (Innovation Management, Eindhoven University)