A major barrier to increased electric vehicle investment has been the doubt over lithium-ion battery life as well as the EV’s resale potential.

Developing the ability to accurately forecast the performance and residual values of EVs is a new project which should help alleviate these battery life and resale value concerns.

North East England-based Route Monkey said it is working with Teesside University and Urban Foresight to help de-risk fleet EV investment, and has received funding from UK’s North East’s Collaborative Projects Fund, through the Government’s Regional Growth Fund.

“Leasing finance costs in the UK are currently calculated using a worst case scenario combination of EV battery performance and degradation, which is based on uncertainty and increases the cost and risk of owning an EV,” said Colin Ferguson, Route Monkey chief executive officer. “This project aims to establish protocol for the sharing of vehicle and battery manufacturers’ battery chemistry data to allow for optimization of lifetime predictions. Lease companies, insurance brokers and underwriters will benefit from the residual values generated by the software, which will help remove doubts over the long-term effects of battery degradation and replacement costs. These benefits can be passed on to potential purchases of EVs to help make ownership an increasingly enticing proposition.”

Route Monkey  explained the project initially utilizes algorithms it developed to build upon previous analysis of EV usage and charging data to accurately define the parameters which determine battery life. Plotting EV usage and charging behavior will allow for precise assessment of battery wear patterns, and attribution of a level of resale ‘risk’ that results in a value based on projected battery lifespan.

“The software that is in development will enable the accurate assessment of the total cost of ownership, based on resale values and usage patterns, and could provide the perfect incentive for fleet managers who are under increasing pressure to reduce both running costs and carbon emissions,” said Dr. Colin Herron, managing director of Zero Carbon Futures, which oversees the Fund. “The Route Monkey collaborative project is another example of the North East being central to the development of innovative low carbon vehicle projects, having already seen a higher uptake of EVs per head than any other area of the UK. The fleet market is increasingly open to the benefits of running EVs, and this project will help provide true cost analysis for businesses and provide further incentives for increased uptake.”

The project is split into three work packages, focusing on the research into parameters affecting battery life, the development of Route Monkey software, and beta testing.

Route Monkey added having received £246,000 of match-funding from the Collaborative Projects Fund, the project will result in 18 direct new jobs and is just one ground-breaking initiative which has successfully received funding through the Fund.

The Collaborative Projects Fund was set up in North East England in 2013 to provide grant funding to collaborative industry and research projects to support the development of new products and services in low carbon transport.