Browse Publications Technical Papers 2019-01-1127

Optimizing Performance and Fuel Efficiency for a Formula SAE Car 2019-01-1127

This paper presents a system intended to optimize the balance between performance and efficiency of a vehicle completing a course. For example, the Formula SAE competition includes an endurance event where 100 points are based on fuel efficiency, and 275 points are based on performance. While lap simulation programs are typically used to decrease lap times by modifying the car’s design parameters, our goal is a lap simulation tool that can also be used to maximize the fuel efficiency while maintaining a prescribed performance level. In the FSAE event, if the fuel consumption can be reduced enough while maintaining a comparable lap time, the overall score can increase dramatically. The simulation presented will optimize gear shifts points, maximum throttle position, fuel mixture, and perform a lift and coast procedure to achieve the highest score for endurance and efficiency combined. A competition course is modeled using a GPS device following approximately the minimum curvature path, and simulated lap times are validated using previous competition times and scores. All parameters are varied to provide the vehicle with some fraction of the desired power. The simulation identifies areas of the track where full power is more beneficial to performance and the areas where full power does not provide an increase in total score. The simulation first finds the optimal performance lap and then optimizes parameters during partial load to increase fuel efficiency while achieving the same performance. Later the simulation optimizes the parameters further, trading lap time performance for fuel efficiency. Historical data from previous competitions allow the simulation to determine the score and guide the optimization.


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