Today, automotive researchers and engineers are constantly evolving their research to optimize propulsion system control technologies for the vehicles of tomorrow. At labs around the globe, R&D teams are heavily focused on improving fuel efficiency and reducing emissions through technology such as more efficient, user-friendly stop-start systems and mild hybrid powertrains.
Thus, engine control hardware and software are constantly evolving to meet these ever-changing needs. As integrators that specialize in ensuring today’s top-tier engine control technology is more accessible through comprehensive systems that allow researchers and engineers to do more, LHP Technology Solutions (LHPTS) knows it needs to constantly evolve as well.
Introducing 48V Electrical Systems
Currently, researchers are working to improve stop-start systems and mild hybrid powertrain technology by incorporating 48V electrical systems to supplement some of the higher power functions typically operated exclusively by 12V batteries. Providing engineers and researchers with the tools they need to work with these 48V electrical systems is critical to the evolution of vehicle technology and enables a variety of advancements, including the following:
- With a 48V starter, engine restarts in vehicles with stop-start functionality can occur with the same power, but less current, which is more efficient and helps the engine crank faster.
- In vehicles with 48V stop-start systems, the driver and passengers feel less vibration when the engine restarts, and the slight delay to restart the engine is reduced, which can be critical when drivers need to accelerate quickly from a stop, such as when making a fast left turn.
- The increased cranking speed helps reduce emissions during the first few cycles after startup.
- Stop-start motors can supply a power boost during acceleration, allowing for engine downsizing and enabling regenerative braking to recharge the battery when slowing the vehicle.
- Supplementing 12V batteries with 48V batteries can increase fuel economy by up to 15 percent for a nominal cost[i].
- The addition of 48V batteries can make for a mild hybrid at an attractive cost/performance ratio.
Retooling the Traditional Engine Controls System
Thus, LHPTS is retooling its Engine Control System (ECS) and ECS+ platforms to assist researchers and engineers in working with 48V systems, including motor/generators, electrified superchargers, and other components. For example, LHPTS integrated RoboteQ 48V brushless DC motor control and 48V AC induction motor control capability options into its ECS and ECS+ platforms. The motors are controlled with the same LabVIEW interface through which users interact with the ECS and ECS+ and are intended for use in controlling loads such as a 48V starter generator. Because of their expertise in technology integration, LHPTS engineers can customize the 48V motor control option on the ECS platforms so that any starter generator or other 48V motor can be powered either by a battery or a power supply.
Engineers and researchers working to optimize propulsion system performance need a comprehensive and flexible platform, such as the ECS+, that is designed to evolve with today’s rapidly changing technology.
Additionally, the LHPTS software used to control the motor/generator allows for both speed-control and torque-control modes. The different control modes allow researchers to set engine speeds and accelerations while starting the engine, and then users can switch to torque-control mode to control the flow of the current recharging the battery.
Development of Mild Hybrid Powertrains
LHPTS is also investing heavily in additional technologies that will assist with the development of mild hybrid powertrains as our engineers believe this is the direction the market is heading. In one application related to hybrid vehicles, LHPTS engineers recently demonstrated control of an electric supercharger powered by a 48V battery on the ECS platform. This solution will help get more work out of the engine without increasing the amount of energy needed, further optimizing the vehicle’s efficiency without increasing costs.
As automotive engineers and researchers tweak today’s technology to develop tomorrow’s highly-efficient vehicles, the need for precise, flexible control hardware and software becomes more prevalent. And, as technology continues to advance, and control techniques become more complex, engineers and researchers using the LHPTS ECS and ECS+ platforms are well positioned to refine their current systems and integrate updated technology for performing new tests that may not even be available today.
- Fuel Efficiency for the Autonomous and Electric Vehicle
- Why Electric Vehicles are Moving Toward a 48-volt Electrical System