An electric vehicle uses one or more electric traction motors for propulsion. In recent years, electric mobility has been identified as one of the possible solutions to solve the current problems of oil dependency and air pollution. One of the main impediments to the mass dissemination of this technology, though, lies mainly in the need to further develop the electric powertrain of such vehicles, introducing innovations on the individual components and especially working on their integration.
The simulation solutions offered by VI-grade, with particular reference to VI-CarRealTime and its integration with the Matlab Simulink environment, enables to carefully investigate the development of an electric vehicle from the materials for lithium-based batteries to the realization of the vehicle itself following an almost unprecedented approach.
Thanks to a faster-than-real-time numerical engine and to the integration with preferred traffic simulation software, our solution enables to evaluate the performance of an electrical engine not only through simplified cycles (i.e. acceleration and braking cycles at constant speed) but also within a more complex and realistic driving scenario, including lane change, sudden brake, energy recovery and so on. This can lead to a more exact prediction of energy consumption and battery life, due not only to the powertrain absorption, but also to other electrical subsystems (i.e. lights, wind wipers and so on). Battery absorption and other vital characteristics for an electric vehicle are graphically displayed through dedicated widgets.
It is also possible to easily explore more innovative designs, for example the usage of four independent electric vehicles installed on each of the four wheels. Such a layout allows for revolutionary steering performances: new control strategies, enabling to include the electric motors in the dynamic performance of the vehicle, can be investigated within the VI-grade simulation environment with the help of cosimulation.
Moreover, the simulation environment can allow to investigate the impact on vehicle dynamics due to changes in the layout of weight distribution (position of electric batteries), which in turn lead to a different (usually lower) position of lowered center of mass and therefore to a different rolling behavour.
Finally, the seamless integration of a detailed driver model enables to explore the effect of different driving styles on the energy consumption, crucial aspect to optimize the usability of electrical vehicles in real operating conditions.