eMobility will only become a reality with advanced simulation tools. Mike Dempsey, Managing Director of Claytex
As the world grapples with the challenge of averting permanent climate change, eMobility is a topic that has risen from the fringes of academic research to mainstream technological focus. One could be forgiven assuming eMobility focuses solely on the electric vehicle; the reality is far more complex, challenging, and exciting. It promises to not only revolutionise our vehicle powertrains, but also to revolutionise the very core of human mobility. Fittingly, simulation will be at the heart of it.
Electrification can be broken down into 3 topics: propulsion, covering mechanical vehicle power; autonomy, encompassing mechanical vehicle control; and connectivity, the subject of information flow. No one aspect exists in isolation, and Claytex is committed to using its experience in the motorsport sector to develop tools and methods to address each part of the electrification problem.
Much has been made about the advancement of the fully electric vehicle (EV) in the past decade, maturing into a legitimate consumer option. Fresh investment is required by OEMs (Original equipment manufacturers) as they transition from mature technologies to comparatively immature ones. New expectations of the customer in terms of performance and sustainability add further pressure.
Hybridising the internal combustion engine (ICE) powertrain has been the first step towards eMobility. Primarily, this is a challenge of system control. How should energy be harvested? What is optimal deployment? How efficiently can the ICE be run? With so many variables available to work with engineers in F1, when faced with this precise problem, immediately turned to modelling the vehicle as a combined electro-mechanical system. Application of advanced control logic in software-in-the-loop (SiL) and hardware-in-the-loop (HiL) enables engineers to exercise control systems in representative environments from the start of development, including key control actuator response non-linearities. Evolution happens rapidly, with virtual development enabling engineers to take a cross-disciplinary approach, applying advanced techniques like optimisation algorithms and AI to the control problem.
Whilst sunsetting from commercial sale, hybrid technologies are migrating to EVs. Smart management of energy resources can provide the same benefits of increased range and improved performance in an EV as a hybrid, something vital for consumer confidence. Technologies such as kinetic energy recovery, will be carried forwards. Simulation plays a key role in understanding the impact and efficiency for such systems in various driving conditions, circumventing expensive and time-consuming physical testing. Variable testing costs, dependent upon climatic conditions, can be reduced and controlled with the singular fixed cost investment of simulation.
Thermal management represents one area where the EV departs from the ICE hybrid. Without ICE heat rejection, electrical drive energy must be deployed to generate heat, either pre-warming the battery to the optimal temperature or keeping the occupants comfortable. Studying the efficiency of various cabin configurations, material choices and heating strategies therefore direct impacts the vehicle range. Similarly, so can the requirements to cool the cabin in hot climates. Both situations highlight shortcomings of traditional development processes, requiring travel of personnel and material to areas of specific climatic interest. Inherently time consuming and expensive, the virtual laboratory of simulation removes logistical challenges, not to mention is cheaper than using climatic test chambers. An estimated investment of £25,000 for a single conceptual study must be weighed against £30,000 (and £1500 in training) for simulation tools, available for an unlimited number of conceptual studies.
Read the full article here: The Hidden Simulation Arms Race
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