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Technical Paper

Voltec Battery Design and Manufacturing

In July 2007, GM announced that it would produce the Chevy Volt, the first high-production volume electric vehicle with extended range capability, by 2010. In January 2009, General Motors announced that the Chevrolet Volt's lithium ion Battery Pack, capable of propelling the Chevy Volt on battery-supplied electric power for up to 40 miles, would be designed and assembled in-house. The T-shaped battery, a subset of the Voltec propulsion system, comprises 288 cells, weighs 190 kg, and is capable of supplying over 16 kWh of energy. Many technical challenges presented themselves to the team, including the liquid thermal management of the battery, the fast battery pack development timeline, and validation of an unproven high-speed assembly process. This paper will first present a general overview of the approach General Motors utilized to bring the various engineering organizations together to design, develop, and manufacture the Volt battery.
Technical Paper

Virtual Traffic Simulator for Connected and Automated Vehicles

Connected and automated vehicle (CAV) technologies promise a substantial decrease in traffic accidents and traffic jams, and bring new opportunities for improving vehicle’s fuel economy. However, testing autonomous vehicles in a real world traffic environment is costly, and covering all corner cases is nearly impossible. Furthermore, it is very challenging to create a controlled real traffic environment that vehicle tests can be conducted repeatedly and compared fairly. With the capability of allowing testing more scenarios than those that would be possible with real world testing, simulations are deemed safer, more efficient, and more cost-effective. In this work, a full-scale simulation platform was developed to simulate the infrastructure, traffic, vehicle, powertrain, and their interactions. It is used as an effective tool to facilitate control algorithm development for improving CAV’s fuel economy in real world driving scenarios.
Journal Article

Virtual Manufacturability Analyzer for Casting Components

There is an increasing demand in automated manufacturability analysis of metal castings at the initial stages of their design. This paper presents a system developed for virtual manufacturability analysis of casting components. The system can be used by a casting designer to evaluate manufacturability of a part designed for various manufacture processes including casting, heat treatment, and machining. The system uses computational geometrics and geometric reasoning to extract manufacturing features and geometry characteristics from a part CAD model. It uses an expert system and a design database consisting of metal casting, heat treatment and machining process knowledge and rules to present manufacturability analysis results and advice to the designer. Application of the system is demonstrated for the manufacturability assessment of automotive cast aluminum components.
Journal Article

Vehicle Integration Factors Affecting Brake Caliper Drag

Disc brakes operate with very close proximity of the brake pads and the brake rotor, with as little as a tenth of a millimeter of movement of the pads required to bring them into full contact with the rotor to generate braking torque. It is usual for a disc brake to operate with some amount of residual drag in the fully released state, signifying constant contact between the pads and the rotor. With this contact, every miniscule movement of the rotor pushes against the brake pads and changes the forces between them. Sustained loads on the brake corner, and maneuvers such as cornering, can both produce rotor movement relative to the caliper, which can push it steadily against one or both of the brake pads. This can greatly increase the residual force in the caliper, and increase drag. This dependence of drag behavior on the movement of the brake rotor creates some vehicle-dependent behavior.
Journal Article

Vehicle Handling Parameter Trends: 1980 - 2010

Handling and tire performance continue to evolve due to significant improvements in vehicle, electronics, and tire technology over the years. This paper examines the trends in handling and tire performance metrics for production cars and trucks since the 1980's. This paper is based on a significant number of directional response and tire tests conducted during that period. It describes ranges of these parameters and shows how they have changed over the past thirty years.
Technical Paper

Vehicle Crash and Steering Column Frequency Simulation of an Aluminum Instrument Panel Structure

Recent changes to the U.S. CAFÉ (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) requirements have caused increased focus on alternative vehicle component designs that offer mass savings while maintaining overall vehicle design and performance targets. The instrument panel components comprise approximately 6% of the total vehicle interior mass and are thus a key component of interest in mass optimization efforts. Typically, instrument panel structures are constructed of low carbon tubular steel cross car members with welded stamped steel component brackets. In some cases, instrument panel structures have incorporated high strength low alloy (HSLA) steels to reduce mass by reducing gage. In this study, aluminum low mass instrument panel structure concept designs are developed. This paper illustrates the differences between a HSLA steel solution and four different aluminum instrument panel structure designs.
Technical Paper

Vehicle Acoustic Sensitivity Performance Using Virtual Engineering

In order to assess the possible ways of energy transfer from the various sources of excitation in a vehicle assembly to a given target location, frequency based substructuring technique and transfer path analysis are used. These methods help to locate the most important energy transfer paths for a specific problem, and to evaluate their individual effects on the target, thus providing valuable insight into the mechanisms responsible for the problem. The Source-Path-Receiver concept is used. The sources can be from the road surface, engine, transmission, transfer case, prop-shaft, differential, rotating components, chain drives, pumps, etc., and the receiver can be driver/passenger ears, steering column, seats, etc. This paper is devoted to identify the noise transfer paths and the force transmissibility among the interfaces of different components in the vehicle for the low to mid frequency range.
Technical Paper

Varying the Polyurethane Foam Ratio for Better Acoustic Performance and Mass Savings

Flexible molded polyurethane foams are widely used in automotive industry. As porous-elastic materials, they can be used as decoupler layers in conventional sound insulation constructions or as sound absorbers in vehicle trim parts. Flexible molded polyurethane foams are produced by reacting of liquid Isocyanate (Iso) with a liquid Polyol blend, catalysts, and other additives. Their acoustic performance can be changed by varying the mixing ratio, the weight proportion of two components: Iso and Polyol. Consequently, the sound insertion loss (IL) of barrier/foam constructions and acoustic absorption of a single foam layer will vary. In this paper, based on one industry standard flexible molded polyurethane foam process, the relationship between foam mixing ratio and foam acoustic performance is studied in terms of IL and sound absorption test results.
Journal Article

Variable and Fixed Airflow for Vehicle Cooling

This paper describes rationale for determining the apportionment of variable or ‘shuttered’ airflow and non-variable or static airflow through openings in the front of a vehicle as needed for vehicle cooling. Variable airflow can be achieved by means of a shutter system, which throttles airflow through the front end and into the Condenser, Radiator, and Fan Module, (CRFM). Shutters originated early in the history of the auto industry and acted as a thermostat [1]. They controlled airflow as opposed to coolant flow through the radiator. Two benefits that are realized today are aerodynamic and thermal gains, achieved by restricting unneeded cooling airflow. Other benefits exist and justify the use of shutters; however, there are also difficulties in both execution and practical use. This paper will focus on optimizing system performance and execution in terms of the two benefits of reduced aerodynamic drag and reduced mechanical drag through thermal control.
Technical Paper

Validating Prototype Connected Vehicle-to-Infrastructure Safety Applications in Real- World Settings

This paper summarizes the validation of prototype vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) safety applications based on Dedicated Short Range Communications (DSRC) in the United States under a cooperative agreement between the Crash Avoidance Metrics Partners LLC (CAMP) and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). After consideration of a number of V2I safety applications, Red Light Violation Warning (RLVW), Curve Speed Warning (CSW) and Reduced Speed Zone Warning with Lane Closure Warning (RSZW/LC) were developed, validated and demonstrated using seven different vehicles (six passenger vehicles and one Class 8 truck) leveraging DSRC-based messages from a Road Side Unit (RSU). The developed V2I safety applications were validated for more than 20 distinct scenarios and over 100 test runs using both light- and heavy-duty vehicles over a period of seven months. Subsequently, additional on-road testing of CSW on public roads and RSZW/LC in live work zones were conducted in Southeast Michigan.
Journal Article

VOLTEC Battery System for Electric Vehicle with Extended Range

Mid 2006 a study group at General Motors developed the concept for the electric vehicle with extended range (EREV),. The electric propulsion system should receive the electrical energy from a rechargeable energy storage system (RESS) and/or an auxiliary power unit (APU) which could either be a hydrogen fuel cell or an internal combustion engine (ICE) driven generator. The study result was the Chevrolet VOLT concept car in the North American Auto Show in Detroit in 2007. The paper describes the requirements, concepts, development and the performance of the battery used as RESS for the ICE type VOLTEC propulsion system version of the Chevrolet Volt. The key requirement for the RESS is to provide energy to drive an electric vehicle with “no compromised performance” for 40 miles. Extended Range Mode allows for this experience to continue beyond 40 miles.
Technical Paper

Utilizing Finite Element Tools to Model Objective Seat Comfort Results

The comfort assessment of seats in the automotive industry has historically been accomplished by subjective ratings. This approach is expensive and time consuming since it involves multiple prototype seats and numerous people in supporting processes. In order to create a more efficient and robust method, objective metrics must be developed and utilized to establish measurable boundaries for seat performance. Objective measurements already widely accepted, such as IFD (Indentation Force Deflection) or CFD (Compression Force Deflection) [1], have significant shortcomings in defining seat comfort. The most obvious deficiency of these component level tests is that they only deal with a seats' foam rather than the system response. Consequently, these tests fail to take into account significant factors that affect seat comfort such as trim, suspension, attachments and other components.
Technical Paper

Understanding Work Task Assessment Sensitivity to the Prediction of Standing Location

Digital human models (DHM) are now widely used to assess worker tasks as part of manufacturing simulation. With current DHM software, the simulation engineer or ergonomist usually makes a manual estimate of the likely worker standing location with respect to the work task. In a small number of cases, the worker standing location is determined through physical testing with one or a few workers. Motion capture technology is sometimes used to aid in quantitative analysis of the resulting posture. Previous research has demonstrated the sensitivity of work task assessment using DHM to the accuracy of the posture prediction. This paper expands on that work by demonstrating the need for a method and model to accurately predict worker standing location. The effect of standing location on work task posture and the resulting assessment is documented through three case studies using the Siemens Jack DHM software.
Technical Paper

Ultracapacitor Based Active Energy Recovery Scheme for Fuel Economy Improvement in Conventional Vehicles

In this paper, a low-cost means to improve fuel economy in conventional vehicles by employing ultracapacitor based Active Energy Recovery Buffer (AERB) scheme will be presented. The kinetic energy of the vehicle during the coast down events is utilized to charge the ultracapacitor either directly or through a dc-dc converter, allowing the voltage to increase up to the maximum permissible level. When the vehicle starts after a Stop event, the energy stored in the capacitor is discharged to power the accessory loads until the capacitor voltage falls below a minimum threshold. The use of stored capacitor energy to power the accessory loads relieves the generator torque load on the engine resulting in reduced fuel consumption. Two different topologies are considered for implementing the AERB system. The first topology, which is a simple add-on to the conventional vehicle electrical system, comprises of the ultracapacitor bank and the dc-dc converter connected across the dc bus.
Technical Paper

Ultimate Load Capacity of Spot Welds Made of Ultra High Strength Steels

Spot welds have two separation modes: interfacial and button pullout. Most of existing publications [8,9,10,11,12] focused on button pullout. This is because for the same sheet metal and gage combination, button pullout leads to higher separation load than interfacial separation. With the push for lighter vehicles, high strength and ultra high strength steels are used. To further reduce mass, welding flanges are getting narrower. The welding tips are getting smaller. The weld nugget diameters are smaller as a result. The separation mode for certain load cases is no longer nugget pullout, but interfacial instead. This lowers the weld's maximum load capacity. In order for CAE simulated prediction to correlate to physical behaviors of vehicle structures, it is important to define and reconfirm separation criteria. New tests and analyses are necessary.
Journal Article

Truck Utility & Functionality in the GM 2-Mode Hybrid

The present production General Motors 2-Mode Hybrid system for full-size SUVs and pickup trucks integrates truck utility functions with a full hybrid system. The 2-mode hybrid system incorporates two electro-mechanical power-split operating modes with four fixed-gear ratios. The combination provides fuel savings from electric assist, regenerative braking and low-speed electric vehicle operation. The combination of two power-split modes reduces the amount of mechanical power that is converted to electric power for continuously variable transmission operation, meeting the utility required for SUVs and trucks. This paper describes how fuel economy functionality was blended with full-size truck utility functions. Truck functions described include: Manual Range Select, Cruise Control, 4WD-Low and continuous high load operation.
Journal Article

Transmission Output Chain Spin Loss Study

Transmission spin loss has significant influence on the vehicle fuel economy. Transmission output chain may contribute up to 10~15% of the total spin loss. However, the chain spin loss information is not well documented. An experimental study was carried out with several transmission output chains and simulated transmission environment in a testing box. The studies build the bases for the chain spin loss modeling and depicted the influences of the speed, the sprocket sizes, the oil levels, the viscosity, the temperatures and the baffle. The kriging method was employed for the parameter sensitivity study. A closed form of empirical model was developed. Good correlation was achieved.
Technical Paper

Traditional and Electronic Solutions to Mitigate Electrified Vehicle Driveline Noises

Hybrid powertrain vehicles inherently create discontinuous sounds during operation. The discontinuous noise created from the electrical motors during transition states are undesirable since they can create tones that do not correlate with the dynamics of the vehicle. The audible level of these motor whines and discontinuous tones can be reduced via common noise abatement techniques or reducing the amount of regeneration braking. One electronic solution which does not affect mass or fuel economy is Masking Sound Enhancement (MSE). MSE is an algorithm that uses the infotainment system to mask the naturally occurring discontinuous hybrid drive unit and driveline tones. MSE enables a variety of benefits, such as more aggressive regenerative braking strategies which yield higher levels of fuel economy and results in a more pleasing interior vehicle powertrain sound. This paper will discuss the techniques and signals used to implement MSE in a hybrid powertrain equipped vehicle.
Journal Article

Torque Converter Clutch Optimization: Improving Fuel Economy and Reducing Noise and Vibration

The torque converter and torque converter clutch are critical devices governing overall power transfer efficiency in automatic transmission powertrains. With calibrations becoming more aggressive to meet increasing fuel economy standards, the torque converter clutch is being applied over a wider range of driving conditions. At low engine speed and high engine torque, noise and vibration concerns originating from the driveline, powertrain or vehicle structure can supersede aggressive torque converter clutch scheduling. Understanding the torsional characteristics of the torque converter clutch and its interaction with the drivetrain can lead to a more robust design, operation in regions otherwise restricted by noise and vibration, and potential fuel economy improvement.
Journal Article

Toothed Chain CVT: Opportunities and Challenges

A toothed chain continuously variable transmission concept is studied. By designing positive engagement at top overdrive ratio, we explored the potential to improve CVT mechanical efficiency. The low cost solution could improve fuel economy by 0.7% in FTP composite cycle. Preliminary multi-body dynamic simulation is also completed using VL-Motion to concept-proof the technical feasibility of disengagement and engagement. To address the noise issue resulted from abandoning the random pitch design in production chain, we proposed an alternate chain pitch sequence but more experimental data is required to validate the design.