Hybrid Vehicle Technology
Argonne researchers are developing and testing various hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) and their components to identify the technologies, configurations, and engine control strategies that provide the best combination of high fuel economy and low emissions.
Argonne also serves as the lead laboratory for hardware-in-the-loop (HIL) and technology validation for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). HIL is a technique for performing system-level tests in a quick and cost-effective manner. Argonne employs HIL techniques to evaluate new technologies and control strategies in an emulated vehicle environment. With HIL, actual components can be evaluated under realistic operating conditions. Testing occurs at Argonne's Advanced Powertrain Research Facility (APRF).
Since 1999, Argonne National Laboratory has been developing a vehicle simulation tool to assess the fuel consumption and performance of advanced vehicles. The software, Powertrain System Analysis Toolkit (PSAT), has become widely accepted by industry and has been licensed to more than 130 companies, universities, and research laboratories worldwide with more than 750 users. PSAT has been used to support many research expertise related to advanced vehicles. However, the increased complexity and diversity of the technologies led to a partnership, initiated by General Motors in 2007, to develop the next generation of automotive simulation tools. In the past three years, Argonne has developed a new tool, called Autonomie, to accelerate the development and introduction of advanced technologies through plug-and-play architecture.
Autonomie has been designed to be used as a single tool throughout the different phases of model-based design of the Vehicle Development Process (VDP). Model Based Design is a math-based visual method for designing complex control systems and is being used successfully in many motion control, industrial, aerospace, and automotive applications. It provides an efficient methodology that includes four key elements in the development process: modeling a plant (from first principles or system identification), synthesizing and analyzing a controller for the plant, simulating the plant and controller together, and programming/deploying the controller. Model Based Design integrates all these multiple phases and provides a common framework for communication throughout the entire design process.