Home Taxi transport Cenex: ultra-durable robotaxis make strong business and environmental case

Cenex: ultra-durable robotaxis make strong business and environmental case

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Autonomous vehicles used in private taxi hire operations can reduce life cycle global warming potential by 42% when designed with ultra-durable components, compared to the same vehicle with normal durability components

Autonomous vehicles used in private taxi hire operations can reduce life cycle global warming potential by 42% when designed with ultra-durable components, compared to the same vehicle with normal durability components.

Electric robotaxis will need to be able to withstand up to 1.5 million kilometers over their lifetime in future operating modes, and ultra-durable components (such as powertrain, battery and chassis) will offer emissions savings throughout their life cycle compared to an equivalent standard electric vehicle. .

High vehicle utilization and fewer spare parts mean that a robotaxi built with ultra-durable components could total emissions throughout its life cycle as low as 30 gCO2e/km.

Victor Lejona, Head of Modeling and Analytics Team at Cenex, said: “88% of current private car journeys in the UK have only one or two passengers on board and carry empty seats ( and their weight) for much of the time.

“Two-seat autonomous vehicles will travel very high total distances if they operate as appropriately sized robotaxi fleets that are placed in high travel demand areas of cities.

“This operating model will generate emissions and economic benefits for cities, passengers and fleet operators.”

Future urban populations are expected to move away from private vehicles, with personal transport operating instead as part of a commercial fleet with high levels of use and high mileage.

In simulated scenarios in different areas of London, two-seater robotaxis traveled up to 170,000 km/year, ten times the operating distance of a conventional vehicle, and would therefore require ultra-durable components to extend the service life. life and save on maintenance costs.

An ultra-durable powertrain (the aim of the Innovate UK-funded program RUBICON project between Cenex, Hexagon and EMPEL) designed for a robotaxi offers a 4% reduction in global warming potential (GWP) over its entire life cycle; although it is heavier and larger than a normal vehicle, reducing the number of component replacements over the life of the vehicle still produces a reduction in GWP


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Research has found that extending the ultra-sustainable philosophy to all vehicle parts results in a GWP saving of 42%, and that the combination of optimized vehicle efficiency and low-emission grid electricity carbon enables a 72% reduction in GWP.

In addition to environmental benefits, there are economic gains to operate a fleet of robotaxis with high usage and mileage.

“A commercial fleet of robotaxis can provide reasonable payback periods for operators of 3-5 years when vehicle utilization is high (>80%), given the right fleet sizes and areas of operation,” added Lejona.

“It should be noted that business costs come not only from vehicles, energy and charging stations, but also from overhead costs such as non-driver staff, marketing and office space.”

A profitable robotaxi is calculated to cost passengers between $0.42/km and $0.71/km, compared to $5.5/km for current taxis.


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“We expect these lower passenger fares will make robotaxis more attractive than private vehicle ownership in the future, alongside reducing carbon footprints and removing barriers such as learning and ability to drive, capital expenditure for buying a car and charging station, and finding and paying for a parking space,” Lejona said.

For a robotaxi fleet operator in the central London area operating at 80% vehicle utilization and covering 100,000km/year, the total annual business profit is calculated at £6m for a fleet of just 500 two-seater robotaxis.

RUBICON project aiming to design a new powertrain for use in an autonomous passenger transport vehicle that has very high utilization and travels over 1.5 million km.

The latest white paper of the project, released today, assesses the environmental and economic business case for ultra-durable vehicle components in autonomous applications.

THE SOURCE: Cenex