An Illustrative Look at Energy Flow through Hybrid Powertrains for Design and Analysis
Throughout the past several years, a major push has been made for the automotive industry to provide vehicles with lower environmental impacts while maintaining safety, performance, and overall appeal. Various legislation has been put into place to establish guidelines for these improvements and serve as a challenge for automakers all over the world. In light of these changes, hybrid technologies have been growing immensely on the market today as customers are seeing the benefits with lower fuel consumption and higher efficiency vehicles. With the need for hybrids rising, it is vital for the engineers of this age to understand the importance of advanced vehicle technologies and learn how and why these vehicles can change the world as we know it. To help in the education process, this thesis seeks to define a powertrain model created and developed to help users understand the basics behind hybrid vehicles and the effects of these advanced technologies.
One of the main goals of this research is to maintain a simplified approach to model development. There are very complex vehicle simulation models in the market today, however these can be hard to manipulate and even more difficult to understand. The 1 Hz model described within this work aims to allow energy to be simply and understandable traced through a hybrid powertrain. Through the use of a 'backwards' energy tracking method, demand for a drive cycle is found using a drive cycle and vehicle parameters. This demand is then used to determine what amount of energy would be required at each component within the powertrain all the way from the wheels to the fuel source, taking into account component losses and accessory loads on the vehicle. Various energy management strategies are developed and explained including controls for regenerative braking, Battery Electric Vehicles, and Thermostatic and Load-following Series Hybrid Electric Vehicles. These strategies can be easily compared and manipulated to understand the tradeoffs and limitations of each.
After validating this model, several studies are completed. First, an example of using this model to design a hybrid powertrain is conducted. This study moves from defining system requirements to component selection, and then finding the best powertrain to accomplish the given constraints. Next, a parameter known as Power Split Fraction is studied to provide insight on how it affects overall powertrain efficiency. Since the goal with advanced vehicle powertrains is to increase overall system efficiency and reduce overall energy consumption, it is important to understand how all of the factors involved affect the system as a whole. After completing these studies, this thesis moves on to discussing future work which will continue refining this model and making it more applicable for design. Overall, this work seeks to provide an educational tool and aid in the development of the automotive engineers of tomorrow.