Conventional powertrains

Legislative requirements regarding the minimization of CO2 emissions, and the price development of fossil energy sources, are forcing vehicle manufacturers to increase the efficiency of their products and to develop sustainable mobility concepts. Research in the field of conventional powertrains focuses on improving the efficiency of combustion-engine powertrain concepts and electrified drive train topologies.  

Innovative drive train concepts and components

Hybrid-electric vehicles are a useful synergy of electric and combustion engine powertrains. These vehicles have an efficient combustion engine which can be operated in parallel and/or in series with a battery or an electric engine.  A possible increase in efficiency can be achieved through the changed operating requirements placed on the combustion engine, which result in a number of possibilities to reduce consumption, such as downsizing / mass reduction, downspeeding / friction reduction and operation with alternative fuels.

Waste heat recovery

The overall efficiency of conventional and lightly electrified vehicles is limited by the thermal efficiency of the combustion engine, which is below 40 percent even for modern car engines. The remaining 60 percent of the primary energy is usually released into the environment in the form of waste heat. Using a suitable converter, for example a Rankine or turbo generator system, part of this waste heat can be reintroduced into the drive train in the form of mechanical or electrical work, thus contributing to an increase in efficiency.

Operating and testing strategies

When electric traction systems are combined with efficient combustion engines their disadvantages, such as system sizes, temperature and efficiency characteristics and the problem of insufficient range, can be avoided. Depending on the application, each synergic combination has an optimum size for the conventional and electrified components, which is evaluated in a suitable simulation environment and validated in the testing process. This involves determining the changed operating requirements placed on the respective traction components, and the development of robust testing strategies.