Design, Modelling and Verification of Distributed Electric Drivetrain

Abstract: The electric drivetrain in a battery electric vehicle (BEVs) consists of an electric machine, an inverter, and a transmission. The drivetrain topology of available BEVs, e.g., Nissan Leaf, is centralized with a single electric drivetrain used to propel the vehicle. However, the drivetrain components can be integrated mechanically, resulting in a more compact solution. Furthermore, multiple drivetrain units can propel the vehicle resulting in a distributed drive architecture, e.g., Tesla Model S. Such drivetrains provide an additional degree of control and topology optimization leading to cheaper and more efficient solutions. To reduce the cost, the drivetrain unit in a distributed drivetrain can be standardized. However, to standardize the drivetrain, the drivetrain needs to be dimensioned such that the performance of a range of different vehicles can be satisfied. This work investigates a method for dimensioning the torque and power of an electric drivetrain that could be standardized across different passenger and light-duty vehicles. A system modeling approach is used to verify the proposed method using drive cycle simulations. The laboratory verification of such drivetrain components using a conventional dyno test bench can be expensive. Therefore, alternative methods such as power-hardware-in-the-loop (PHIL) and mechanical-hardware-in-the-loop (MHIL) are investigated. The PHIL test method for verifying inverters can be inexpensive as it eliminates the need for rotating electric machines. In this method, the inverter is tested using a machine emulator consisting of a voltage source converter and a coupling network, e.g., inductors and transformer. The emulator is controlled so that currents and voltages at the terminals resemble a machine connected to a mechanical load. In this work, a 60-kW machine emulator is designed and experimentally verified. In the MHIL method, the real-time simulation of the system is combined with a dyno test bench. One drivetrain is implemented in the dyno test bench, while the remaining are simulated using a real-time simulator to utilize this method for distributed drivetrain systems. Including the remaining drivetrains in the real-time simulation eliminates the need for a full-scale dyno test bench, providing a less expensive method for laboratory verification. An MHIL test bench for verification of distributed drivetrain control and components is also designed and experimentally verified.