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Advanced Architectures Chassis/Traction concept for Future Electric vehicles

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - ACHILES (Advanced Architectures Chassis/Traction concept for Future Electric vehicles)

Reporting period: 2020-06-01 to 2021-05-31

The global shift towards electric vehicles (EVs) is approaching: at a local level, EVs are able to improve the urban air quality by reducing emissions of pollutants while mitigating the noise and at a global scale, EVs help reducing GHG emissions. In addition to these environmental aspects, the technical advances made on electric motors and components during the last years have fostered the economic competitiveness of EVs.

However, the deployment of EVs still needs to overcome several technological barriers that slow down the market uptake, including limited driving range and less smooth dynamics in more demanding braking/acceleration events compared to conventional ICE vehicles. These are influenced by the vehicle’s performance in terms of motion dynamics and braking strategy. Thus, regenerative braking is a key functionality in EVs with the capability to extend the travel range. Improving the regenerative brake towards a fully electric drive control is still a challenge. Its integration with active torque control vectored separately to each of the wheels enables enhanced motion dynamics that further increase the energy efficiency and reduce the weight. In addition, these improvements will enhance the driving experience, increasing the user comfort and safety, favouring the mainstream adoption of EVs for the consumer.

ACHILES focuses on developing a new E/E control system architecture that integrates the next generation of e-brake and e-drive functionalities and paving the way to finally integrate such functionality in a centralized domain energy control unit concept. The advances proposed will significantly reduce weight, system complexity and cost while increasing reliability, users comfort and safety/security aspects.

The goal of ACHILES is to design, model, manufacture and test a novel E/E architecture that will allow to:
• Reduce the total cost of ownership by 10%;
• Increase the driving range by at least 11%;
• Increase autonomy with respect the centralized computer driving unit and braking system; compared to a benchmark existing EV.

In particular, 4 new technological concepts are developed:
• A new wheel concept design will be equipped with full by-wire braking, including a new friction brake concept;
• A centralized computer platform to host the edrive functionalities and reduce the number of control units and networks while fulfilling safety & security requirements;
• An out of phase control that allows to intentionally operate the electric motor inefficiently to dissipate the excess of braking energy in case of fully charged batteries;
• A new torque vectoring algorithm to significantly improve the vehicle dynamics.
The following results have been achieved so far after the second period of the project (M1 – M30):
• Full definition of the vehicle specifications and requirements for fulfilling the project objectives;
• Definition of the test procedures at component and vehicle level to guarantee the ACHILES vehicle performances in terms of targets for future EVs and project KPIs;
• Optimization of the vehicle control architecture and Centralized Computer Platform (CCP) interface, including hardware design choices and improved software integration;
• Modelling and control of the powertrain and battery system components, including aging tests for SoC and SoH software implementation;
• Development of safety concepts for the ACHILES vehicle;
• Development of innovative torque vectoring algorithm;
• Design and prototyping of the new wheel concept and brake system, including out-of-phase control, together with the powertrain components (e-motors and power electronics);
• Virtual integration of the vehicle for Model-in-the-Loop (MiL) and Hardware-in-the-Loop (HiL);
• Ongoing physical integration of the components into the vehicle;
• Testing at component level;
• Preliminary testing on the baseline vehicle.
ACHILES will develop four new technological concepts in order to take the work beyond the state of the art:
• A new wheel concept design will be equipped with full by-wire braking, including a new friction brake concept;
• A centralized computer platform to host the edrive functionalities and reduce the number of control units and networks while fulfilling safety & security requirements;
• An out of phase control that allows to intentionally operate the electric motor inefficiently to dissipate the excess of braking energy in case of fully charged batteries;
• A new torque vectoring algorithm to significantly improve the vehicle dynamics.

The impacts and results foreseen within Achiles are presented below in relation to the results achieved up to Period 2:

Impact 1: ACHILES will be able to increase the driving range to at least 11% and decrease the yearly energy consumption per km. This will allow to save up to 24 GWh per year for the 2026-2030 period.
So far, Achiles has developed a new torque vectoring algorithm for enhancing the motion control and the new wheel concept and brake system have been prototyped.

Impact 2: ACHILES innovations will be able to reduce the cost of components and sub-systems by: i) introducing a centralized domain controller architecture (CCP) compared to the efforts needed when installing decentralized individual control units; a potential saving in cost up to 20% is targeted on top of the complexity reduction and the lower susceptibility to electromagnetic compatibility and security; and ii) by introducing an out of phase concept in the e-motor which will allow removing brake resistors and hence reduce cost. These innovations have been developed already and will be evaluated with the full vehicle testing.

Impact 3: ACHILES innovations will extend the operational range w/o recharge by up to 15% at some operating conditions by enhancing efficiency of regenerative braking in order to recover more energy, with an affordable battery size. With the new braking concept incl. regeneration and the optimized control architecture developed the autonomy of the vehicle is increased without increasing the size of the battery pack or changing the charging process.

Impact 4: ACHILES new wheel and brake concept will enhance understeering and oversteering behaviours by improving the blended braking of current EVs, improving the vehicle stability and enhancing the comfort thanks to the smooth electric control and management during driving. Also, the maintenance and replacement schedules and costs will be reduced, while the security and safety will be enhanced. To this end, ACHILES project has already prototyped the new wheel and brake system concept, resulting in reduced cost and maintenance.

Impact 5: ACHILES innovations will be fully tested in two demonstration platforms and demonstrate that the driving range is increased compared to the baseline vehicle. The new concepts and technologies are being tested and integrated in the demo vehicle.

Impact 6: ACHILES aims to contribute in the EV adoption, which will allow to cut CO2 emissions with respect to the use of ICE vehicles. By developing the new technologies considered in the project, ACHILES increases the vehicles efficiency and decreases the CO2 emissions significantly. In addition, there have been active dissemination activities and collaboration with the EVOLVE cluster towards a fast adoption of EVs, further addressing environmental, societal and health issues.
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