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Ricardo working to reduce development time for 48V-based powertrains; THOMSON project

As part of the EU-funded THOMSON (Mild Hybrid cOst effective solutions for a fast Market penetratiON) project, Ricardo is pursuing research that aims to reduce the development cycle time of hybrid vehicles through the use of simulation for the simultaneous optimization of mechanical, thermal and electrical energy efficiency.

The €11.7-million THOMSON project (with an EU contribution of €9.1 million) aims to develop cost-effective solution based on 48V architectures as a key element to increase fuel economy and reduce environmental impact. THOMSON partners will demonstrate how the right combination of advanced engine downsizing/turbocharging technologies, coupled with a 48V motor-generator system, can provide the most cost effective solution for a rapid electrification through conventional vehicles.

The project will develop two different 48V architectures (one integrating the e-machine on the front engine belt drive, the other between the engine and the transmission) on two different engine families: a mid-size 1.6-liter diesel and a small downsized Spark Ignited CNG engine equipped with a direct injection system.

Engineered correctly, such 48V powertrain architectures have the potential to deliver both environmental and performance goals—particularly in the higher-volume, mid-market vehicle segments.

If successful, the research being undertaken by Ricardo will mean that such hybrid vehicle projects can be delivered up to 15% sooner and at lower cost. The methods devised can improve both the vehicle emissions and performance in real-world driving conditions.

Ricardo is combining the strengths of its electrification product development process, known as R-Intelect, and its Integrated Model Based Development (IMBD) environment, for the simulation-led development and engineering of all types of powertrains. The IMBD environment is being extended to allow system level thermal management and engine calibration to be optimized, which should provide savings in the powertrain development time.

One of our key aims within the THOMSON project is to deliver an integrated hybrid vehicle powertrain toolchain. This will enable optimization of energy usage, and engine and aftertreatment calibration over a range of drive-cycles. As well as ensuring that environmental targets are met, this process delivers a highly efficient powertrain that meets customer expectations for performance and affordability.

—Steve Sapsford, director of business strategy, Ricardo

Work on the THOMSON project is ongoing, with the end of the project targeted for 30 September 2019. Ricardo and its partners expecting to publish the final results in the Autumn of 2020.

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