There has been significant investment into electric vehicle (EV) development in recent years; with a number of manufacturers launching pure electric cars into the commercial market between 2010 and 2012. This report describes the development process, technical specification and validation of DigiCar to allow it to be operated as an EV. The simulator was adapted to replicate the performance characteristics of a Nissan Leaf and referred to as DigiCar EV. The procedure for validating DigiCar EV was an adapted version of that applied by Diels, Robbins and Reed (2012) and involved participants performing a set of specific manoeuvres on the large loop test track at TRL and the same manoeuvres on a simulated version of the same test track in DigiCar EV. Speed choice, acceleration/deceleration profiles, lane-change manoeuvres and distance perception were assessed. Subjective measures were taken by asking participants to complete a post-drive evaluation of performance questionnaire; a direct comparison of performance questionnaire; the NASA-TLX workload questionnaire; a Simulator Fidelity Questionnaire and an adapted version of the Presence Questionnaire (Witmer, Jerome and Singer, 2005). The results demonstrated that DigiCar EV was a good representation of an EV with acceleration and deceleration characteristics identified as key areas for the development of EV simulation.

Want to know more about this project?