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Modeling and Optimization of Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle Fuel Economy

One promising solution for increasing vehicle fuel economy, while still maintaining long-range driving capability, is the plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV). A PHEV is a hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) whose rechargeable energy source can be recharged from an external power source, making it a combination of an electric vehicle and a traditional hybrid vehicle. A PHEV is capable of operating as an electric vehicle until the battery is almost depleted, at which point the on-board internal combustion engine turns on, and generates power to meet the vehicle demands. When the vehicle is not in use, the battery can be recharged from an external energy source, once again allowing electric driving.

A series of models is presented which simulate various powertrain architectures of PHEVs. To objectively evaluate the effect of powertrain architecture on fuel economy, the models were run according to the latest test procedures and all fuel economy values were utility factor weighted. Additionally, a design of experiments was performed for the parametric study of the system and for the optimization of the control strategy for each powertrain architecture. To better understand the reasons for the difference in fuel economy values between architectures, a comprehensive energy analysis was performed to track energy sources and sinks.

Jonathan Zeman, Gamma Technologies, Inc.

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