- Strategic Partnerships
- Updating the power plant
- Free Software
- Itaipu Comporate University
The Electric Vehicle Program (EV) is a partnership between Itaipu and KWO - Oberhasli Kraftwerke AG, which owns hydroelectric plants in the Alps, Switzerland. The technical agreement between the two organizations was signed in May 2006.
The goal is to research electric mobility solutions that are technically and economically feasible and that can minimize the environmental impact of the transport sector.
Invited by KWO to coordinate the project, Itaipu sees this initiative as an opportunity of technological development and technology transfer.
In the early years of the EV Project, more than 80 prototypes left the Center of Research, Development and Assembling of Electric Vehicles, built in Itaipu with funding by Eletrobras. It is the largest assembly line of electrical vehicles in Brazil.
The first prototypes produced were of the Palio Weekend model, made possible through a partnership with Fiat. They have autonomy of 100 kilometers and can reach a top speed of 110 km/h. The battery recharge time is 8 hours. The prototypes are part of the Itaipu fleet as well as other companies in the electric sector.
To allow research on the impact of vehicles on the power grid, the EV program added to Itaipu's fleet other models of electric vehicles, such as the compact 500e, from Fiat, and the compacts Twizy and Zoe and the sedan Fluence ZE, from Renault.
In 2014, the EV program began the assembling of 32 units of the Renault Twizy. The purpose of this project is to enable studies of the gradual increase of components produced locally, as well as preparing suppliers in Brazil and Paraguay.
The latest partner to join the program in 2015 is the German automaker BMW that produces the electric i3. This model will also be used for studies on the power grid.
Electric buses and trucks
In addition to the individual transportation, the EV Project also seeks solutions to the transportation of cargo and passengers. That is how the first electric truck in Latin America was developed in partnership with Iveco - Fiat's subsidiary for heavy vehicles. Launched in August 2009, the Iveco Daily Electric double cabin won the Technological Highlight Award at the Congress of the Society of Engineers of Mobility (SAE).
Next, the EV Program developed the first 100% electric buses in the country and the first hybrid buses powered by electricity and ethanol. The premiere of the hybrid vehicle was during the President Mercosur Summit in Foz do Iguaçu, in December 2010.
Another member of the EV family is the Agrale Marruá electric utility car, with 4x4 traction, developed by Itaipu in partnership with the companies Agrale and Stola Brazil. The vehicle was first presented during the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, Rio+20, in 2012, in Rio de Janeiro.
In 2014, three other 100% electric bus prototypes were developed by the EV Program, with an output three times larger than the first model, as well as features such as ABS brakes, electric doors, air conditioning and Wi-Fi network.
The electric plane
In June 2015, Itaipu and ACS Aviation company in São José dos Campos (SP), flew the first manned electric aircraft in Latin America. The historic flight took place on the tarmac of the binational at the Paraguayan side of the plant.
The interest of the EV program in this sector is to deepen the studies on composite materials used in aircrafts, considered essential for weight reduction of electric vehicles. The lower the weight, the higher the autonomy.
The high cost of batteries is considered one of the main barriers to the popularization of electric vehicles. To overcome this difficulty, the EV Program obtained support from the Financing Resource Studies and Projects (Finep) from the Ministry of Science and Technology. This project is under the responsibility of the Itaipu Technological Park Foundation (FPTI).
The goal is to nationalize the technology applied to the product. Zebra batteries, which power the Palio Weekend prototypes, are imported from Switzerland. Totally recyclable, the batteries are made based on sodium, nickel and cadmium.
Another line of research is the Intelligent Energy Storage System (IESS), which aims at enabling the supply of electricity to isolated communities.
The solution combines the use of clean and renewable sources of energy, such as solar and wind, which are abundant in the country, to a sophisticated storage system with 100% recyclable sodium batteries.
A partnership with the Brazilian Army will allow the installation of an industrial version of the IESS in a Special Border Platoon (PEF) in the State of Pará, in the Amazon Region.