Improving Fuel Economy via Management of Auxiliary Loads in Fuel-Cell Electric Vehicles
Lawrence, Christopher Paul
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The automotive industry is in a state of flux at the moment. Traditional combustion engine technologies are becoming challenged by newer, more efficient and environmentally friendly propulsion methods. These include bio-fuel, hybrid, and hydrogen fuel-cell technologies. Propulsion alone, however, is not the only area where improvements can be made in vehicle efficiency. Current vehicle research and development focuses heavily on propulsion systems with relatively few resources dedicated to auxiliary systems. These auxiliary systems, however, can have a significant impact on overall vehicle efficiency and fuel economy. The objective of this work is to improve the efficiency of a Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle (FCEV) through intelligent auxiliary system control. The analysis contained herein is applicable to all types of vehicles and may find applications in many vehicle architectures. A survey is made of the various types of alternative fuels and vehicle architectures from conventional gasoline vehicles to hybrids and fuel cells. Trends in auxiliary power systems and previous papers on control of these systems are discussed. The FCEV developed by the University of Waterloo Alternative Fuels Team (UWAFT) is outlined and the design process presented. Its powertrain control strategy is analyzed with a proposal for modifications as well as the addition of an auxiliary control module to meet the aforementioned objectives. Simulations are performed to predict the efficiency and fuel economy gains that can potentially be realized using these proposed techniques. These gains prove to be significant, with an almost 2% improvement realized through intelligent control of the air conditioning compressor, and further gains possible through other auxiliary power reduction techniques.