Innovative Approaches for the Development of Electrified Propulsion Systems – Charged Electric Vehicles

Sponsored by AVL

There are many ways to develop an electric propulsion system or a vehicle with an electric propulsion system as the source of propulsion. Traditional development methods, while effective for some applications, also present major challenges, especially when it comes to scalability.

Both technical and non-technical issues challenge developers and manufacturers in this propulsion system development process. Factors such as thermal management, efficiency and NVH trade-offs, control stability, and new feature sets/riding modes are just a few of the technical challenges the teams are facing. On the other hand, there are a number of disruptive challenges such as the small size of slowly growing teams, staying current in a rapidly changing industry, and an increasing number of programs and responsibilities within companies. Each of these challenges can slow down technical efforts.

Given all the challenges, the development of electric drive systems cannot be done quickly, efficiently, and with acceptable quality standards using only commonly used methods and tools. Innovation methodology is also needed. Besides traditional chassis dynamometers, powertrain test benches and electric motor emulators, AVL offers a number of innovative solutions to optimize the development process.

Electric motor concept design, electromagnetic analysis and thermal analysis

Using innovative approaches, such as AVL’s Electric Motor Tool, provides assistance to manufacturers looking for a conceptual electric motor design. Based on specific customer requirements, AVL can develop the optimal electric motor design using the latest materials and manufacturing technologies. A custom electric motor can therefore be designed and AVL’s reference prototype platform can support the development process.

Several key features help customers kick-start electric motor design development. With minimal input data, it is easy to generate electric motor variants based on basic requirements such as supply voltage, torque or power inputs, and maximum speed. It is easy to customize the electric motor design and add additional constraints, such as maximum diameter, magnet type, rotor type, and lamination material.

Figure 1: AVL’s combination of 1D to 3D simulation capabilities allows you to perform detailed electromagnetic, electric motor and gearbox dynamics analysis, as well as NVH, efficiency, thermal and durability analysis in realistic boundary conditions.

Additionally, AVL has been able to leverage 30 years of automotive simulation experience into a unique computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulation solution – AVL FIRE™ M – to support the development of conventional and electrified powertrains. FIRE M can accurately predict the temperature distribution of fluids and structures for all electric motor cooling concepts. The software provides flow field analysis (flow velocity distribution and local recirculation), pressure drop assessment, determination of local heat transfer distribution, and high-fidelity predictions of heat transfer distribution. the temperature in the individual components.

Optimized calibration quality and time savings

Another innovative approach to the development of electric propulsion systems concerns calibration. Calibration of the electric motor, mainly, is done manually on test benches and takes a lot of time and effort. To perform an effective calibration, a lot of know-how and many activities are required. With functional and AVL CAMEO 5™ testing for E-Drive, customers can reduce validation effort by setting up test cases only once. These test cases can then be used subsequently in all environments, automated and 24/7, independent of time and location.

Figure 2: AVL CAMEO 5™ for E-Drive includes the patented Active DoE method that provides model-based simulation during testing.

Powered by artificial intelligence, CAMEO allows users not only to perform highly targeted measurements, but also to simulate, optimize and calibrate at a very early stage, regardless of the maturity level of the components. Using AVL’s patented Active DoE method, a model-based simulation is produced during the test, ready for optimization and calibration. All tests and results can be reported, shared and discussed immediately, regardless of staff location.

Being able to easily switch between test environments and explore test cases in Software-in-the-Loop (SiL), Hardware-in-the-Loop (HiL) or on the testbed can help save up to 40% time in the trial phase. AVL CAMEO allows users to mix and match test sequences, overlap tests, and get their electric vehicle or other product on the road faster.

Simulation of the electric drive system

Together with the software solutions described above, AVL CRUISE™ M is a multidisciplinary vehicle system simulation tool that offers another innovative way to approach and optimize electrified propulsion systems. CRUISE can be used for powertrain concept analysis, subsystem design, and virtual component integration. The flexibility of the software makes it easy to switch between conventional, hybrid and electric drive concepts.

Frontloading of the development process is further enabled by CRUISE, as automakers can predict fuel efficiency and performance early in the design phase, even when little vehicle data is available. And one of the main benefits of the software is that desktop models can be used as factory models on engine, powertrain and chassis test rigs.

Figure 3: Development of a complete electric vehicle system model with AVL CRUISE™ M.

The AVL approach using AVL CRUISE™ M is applicable across the entire engineering process and works well with third-party tools. This allows integration into existing development environments, while saving time and money.

World-class modeling solutions for electric motors and electric axles

The latest innovative approach to electrified propulsion system development emphasizes NVH behavior. In pure electric vehicles, the combustion engine is not present to mask the sound and vibrations of the electric motor and transmission. These systems can generate high-frequency noise that can be uncomfortable for users, so even more focus needs to be placed on NVH behavior.

AVL EXCITE™ for e-axle brings everything you need to get a detailed view of electrified propulsion systems in one package and combines it with an intuitive user interface for ease of use. With the “e-motor tool” and “e-axle tool”, the software provides a complete 3D modeling environment suitable for e-axle configurations. These enable fast and easy high-fidelity modeling of the interactions between electrical and mechanical systems in greater detail than ever before.

With this approach, sensitivity studies can be conducted to assess production and assembly tolerances, focusing design where it really matters. The investment to find the optimum here pays off in the test and production phases and will reduce costs.

In summary: cost vs quality vs time

Product development follows the classic engineering model of cost versus quality versus time. As we get closer to type approval, the flexibility is reduced, but these points can be redeemed easily in the early stages.

Parallel and CAE testing, increasing the number of samples, and an agile testing approach with reactive changes can help reduce time. Similarly, costs can be reduced by shifting the emphasis from validation to CAE in the early stages. Applying a CAE validation process also provides quality assurance.

Obviously, the common thread in optimizing the development process is CAE. For OEMs, the development process is critical, but also involves huge upfront cost and risk. By using the advanced CAE tools described above, AVL can reduce these risks and efforts while supporting better and faster product development.

From use cases, AVL workflows have demonstrated significant overall reductions in time to market and greater flexibility in development approach, with cost savings of approximately 50% compared to to OEM standard approaches. Through the application of the innovative methods described above, the costs of these developments of electrified propulsion systems can be significantly reduced.

Sponsored by AVL

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