Browse Publications Technical Papers 06-14-01-0002

A Framework for Characterizing the Initial Thermal Conditions of Light-Duty Vehicles in Response to Representative Utilization Patterns, Ambient Conditions, and Vehicle Technologies 06-14-01-0002

This also appears in SAE International Journal of Passenger Cars - Mechanical Systems-V130-6EJ

It is widely understood that the thermal state of a light-duty vehicle at the beginning of a trip influences the vehicle performance throughout the drive cycle. Cold starts, or initial states with component temperatures near ambient conditions, are strongly correlated with reduced vehicle performance and energy efficiency and with increased emissions. Despite this understanding, there is little literature available that characterizes initial thermal states beyond empirical studies and simplified analyses of dwell times. We introduce a framework that considers vehicle activity patterns, including the previous drive event, duration of the previous dwell event, and relevant ambient conditions occurring during these events. Moreover, the framework allows for technologies to influence the prominence of cold starts and warm starts. An example application of the methodology using a powertrain model approach revealed the significance of all constituent factors: controlling for ambient conditions, the shortest dwell lengths corresponded to an average initial oil temperature of 70°C versus 23°C for the long dwell length simulations, and aggressive conditioning cycles corresponded to an average initial oil temperature of 51°C versus only 35°C for a short conditioning cycle. The coldest ambient conditions evaluated (−30°C to −10°C) produced a weighted initial oil temperature of 19°C versus 57°C for the warmest ambient conditions evaluated (30°C to 50°C). Finally, we introduce weighting factors that account for the real-world frequency of conditioning cycle and dwell length combinations. The procedure outlined may be useful for discovering real-world performance improvements associated with vehicle technologies, a topic of interest to both vehicle manufacturers and regulators.


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