WMG's Hybrid Vehicle Project has been established to provide automotive manufacturers and suppliers with access to guidance, technical know-how and novel research relating to hybrid design, development and new product introduction.
At a technical level this includes areas such as the internal combustion engine and secondary power source modeling, energy storage technologies, powertrain architecture and control optimisation strategies. But technology alone will not provide a business case for further development, so the projects also consider the political, societal and economic effects of the technology.
The work has involved a large number of partner companies that have contributed to the research including Azure Dynamics and Amberjac Projects. Additional partners include a wide range of stakeholders in technology, varying from manufacturers to end-users, and policy advisors. Yet the team is always keen to add new collaborators to the project. The views and expertise of the partners have been brought together in two key software tools.
The first is a powertrain simulation tool, called WARPSTAR (WARwick Powertrain Simulation Tool for ARchitectures), which has been developed using the industry-standard MATLAB/Simulink® modeling environment. The tool is unique in that it brings together all currently known hybrid, powertrain architectures, as well as the conventional and pure electric vehicle powertrain architectures. It has also been designed to be used for the whole spectrum of vehicle types from passenger car through to hybrid bus applications. It contains an extensive library of components developed in conjunction with the partners. The objective has been to base component models on real components so that the results are relevant in the real world.
For the business case, a Decision Support Tool has been developed to identify all of the currently known issues that will arise in introducing hybrid vehicles into the wider environment. By considering typical user scenarios it can give recommendations on the best course of action, either for an individual owner, fleet operator or an OEM. The tool integrates with WARPSTAR to predict whole-life costs, and includes benchmarking against conventional technology and drive cycle analysis.
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