Electric Powertrain Simulation

In Work Package 4, I, Theo Hoffman, investigate together with co-supervisors Pascal Etman and Mauro Salazar how to design small series of electric vehicles in a cost-effective manner. On the 29th of June, we held the future of automotive workshop at the European Control Conference 2021, with prominent speakers in the field.
With our PhD students, Olaf BorsboomFabio Paparella, and Maurizio Clemente, we will develop new methods and software design tools that make it easier for designers to pick the optimal components, so they need fewer materials and less money. Sometimes that is simply an optimization on the vehicle level, but often the way the vehicle is used in a fleet is important, too, so we also consider that. At the fleet optimization level, we investigate how many types of (shared) vehicles are needed to fulfil given transportation needs, where, for example, routing, charging times, and battery sizes are simultaneously optimized.

At the vehicle product level, we investigate the optimal powertrain choice and modular components or subsystems that can be shared and custom-tailored for an arbitrary set of vehicle types. One level deeper, we search for methods and optimization tools to synthesize vehicle architectures construct systems that fulfil certain functions or requirements. This is typically a top-down and bottom-up process of mapping functions to components and vice versa. Yet, we also want to automate this process by extracting engineering knowledge in an automated manner and using constraint programming techniques to generate new system architectures (platform).

Finally, at the lowest system level, we are searching for computationally tractable models for the electric machine, inverter, battery pack, and transmission as being part of the powertrain. These models can be very complex due to their multi-physics nature, and here we are investigating multi-fidelity methods as a trade-off between acceptable accuracy and computation time to explore the huge design space in an effective and efficient manner.

For project three, on system architecture synthesis, we are still searching for a suitable candidate. We are very excited about the work, and the integration of these design spaces into a single work package is unique. The collaboration with Lightyear and TNO allows for a great mix of industry involvement and academia. Strong cooperation at various levels between industrial R&D experts and TU researchers allows to optimally implement the newly envisioned system engineering methods and CAE design tools.