PurismEV leverages vehicle control to extend EV range by 40%

Peng Chen, DIGITIMES Asia, Taipei 0

PurismEV co-founders Gigi Huang (L) and Ming Chu (R). Credit: DIGITIMES Asia

As most EV industry players focus on improving battery technology to mitigate range anxiety, PurismEV has found an alternative. The Taiwan-based startup targets vehicle control. Its AI Energy Efficiency System can boost an electric two-wheeler's range by 40%.

Gigi Huang, PurismEV's co-founder and CEO, said battery cost is a common issue among electric two-wheelers, three-wheelers, and four-wheelers. A big battery pack can increase the vehicle's range but also hike its price and weight.

With his battery expertise, Huang knew that efforts to enhance batteries would eventually reach limitations. Therefore, he explored different ideas and found that using vehicle control could effectively add ranges. More importantly, the solution would be more affordable.

Ming Chu, PurismEV's co-founder and COO, said batteries account for about 40% of an EV's cost, while an MCU, the core of the energy efficiency system, will only take up 5% at most.

An AI-supported solution

PurismEV currently targets two-wheeler business customers, including vehicle fleets and OEMs. It has developed the AI Energy Efficiency System that can automatically tune an electric motorcycle's operation to improve its range.

Huang said his team first adjusts the parameter setting based on each motorcycle's design. When the vehicle operates, the system collects data regarding riding behaviors, throttle control, electric motors, and batteries. These data represent vehicle speed, acceleration, and other information.

With the input, the efficiency system will calculate and determine the current traffic condition, Huang said. It will then output real-time signals to auto-tune the vehicle's throttle percentage and torque to ensure the two-wheeler operates efficiently.

According to Huang, discontinuous throttle use and persistent low speed may indicate a traffic jam. Therefore, the system would direct the vehicle to cruise slowly to reduce power consumption.

In contrast, when the vehicle maintains a high speed and limited acceleration, the system determines the traffic is smooth and gives the motorcycle more power.

Chu said the efficiency system, like a small computer on a two-wheeler, calculates right away when it receives data gathered on the vehicle. No latency exists. She said PurismEV aims to personalize or customize the solution in the future to accommodate different users' riding behaviors.

Established in February 2023, the startup has tested 10 two-wheelers and three-wheelers, gathering about 300,000 data entries, according to Chu.

AI plays a critical role in laying the foundation for the energy efficiency system. Huang said AI was used to categorize the 300,000 data entries, which encompass mileage, throttle percentage, and many others. AI also explained the logic behind the categorization, helping PurismEV enhance the range of different motorcycles.

Huang said the company's AI Energy Efficiency System increased the range of the 10 two-wheelers it tested by 40% on average. Solutions that OEMs have adopted can add 17% to 19% of the range.

The CEO said existing solutions usually set speed limits or leverage the "comfort mode" to improve a vehicle's energy efficiency. PurismEV's system modifies vehicle control based on traffic conditions and riding behaviors without restricting the speed.

Drawing attention overseas

PurismEV's potential customers include logistics and motorcycle-sharing fleets. Chu said these companies were impressed with the 40% energy efficiency because the system outperformed many other solutions in the after-market.

She also said PurismEV is negotiating a contract with a Taiwan-based motorcycle-sharing fleet. For logistics and vehicle-sharing fleets, improved energy efficiency means a more extended rental agreement and longer vehicle operating time. Chu said the situation could help these companies save charging time and the workforce for battery-swapping work.

In addition to Taiwan-based customers, companies in China, Thailand, Japan, and India have expressed interest in PurismEV's efficiency system, according to Chu. She said the electric two-wheeler and three-wheeler markets are booming thanks to e-commerce and governments' support for electrification.

Chu said the company is discussing with foreign customers about "remote testing." First, customers mail their throttles to Taiwan for tuning. PurismEV will send back the throttle with a sample of its system and the wires, so the customer can install the solution on its motorcycle. If PurismEV can receive the signal in Taiwan, it will be able to retrieve the data directly.

PurismEV will first target the Asian and European markets, Chu said. These regions have urban surroundings similar to Taiwan and they adopt two-wheelers, three-wheelers, and mini-trucks. PurismEV also aims for the four-wheeler market in the long term, she added.