TUM CREATE is an ambitious programme that researches the application of electric vehicles and future transportation concepts in tropical megacities. Singapore was chosen as the ideal test-bed for many reasons, including its technologically advanced infrastructure. TUM CREATE is a joint research programme between Technische Universität München (TUM) in Germany and Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore with funding by the National Research Foundation of Singapore. Over 100 scientists and engineers are involved in this 5-year long project. TUM CREATE is part of the new CREATE campus in University Town next to NUS.
But how do you build an electric vehicle infrastructure using technology that doesn’t exist in an environment that doesn’t yet exist? The investment costs for a government to electrify their transportation systems are huge. How do you choose where to place charging stations? How much do you need to modify the existing power grid? How much stress do various levels of e-vehicle penetration have on the system? If answered incorrectly, these questions could have multi-million dollar implications.
TUM CREATE offers a unique perspective in this regard. A technique called ‘Modelling and Simulation’ is generally used when trying to understand the various scenarios that new technologies can create. With experts from science and engineering researching all levels of electric vehicles, TUM CREATE is perfectly positioned to develop a simulation system capable of capturing all aspects of the problem. The diagram below shows how all the research projects within TUM CREATE use modelling and simulation techniques at all scales of the problem, all the way from the molecule to the megacity.
Modelling and simulation helps reduce the uncertainty of implementing new systems, by giving a prediction of what might happen if you change particular parameters. For example, if you replace taxis, which consume roughly 14% of all fuel in Singapore, with electric taxis, what is the impact on Singapore’s carbon footprint? Each charging station takes time and money to install. What is the optimum number of charging stations if you’re conducting a cost-benefit analysis?
Dr. Michael Lees, NTU professor and head of Simulations and Optimisation at TUM CREATE says, “TUM CREATE is a unique place where you can find people from diverse backgrounds working together to develop methods and solutions for the future of electric vehicles. Modelling and simulation is important as it helps us not only to better understand the implications of the many design choices we have to make but also to optimise and improve them.”
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