Hybrid controllers stand alone

  • 21-Mar-2011 10:17 EDT
9462_10954_ACT.jpg

ASICs help Delphi controllers adapt to the rapidly evolving hybrid market.

The move to hybrid powertrains adds a new level of complexity to powertrain development, forcing engineers to control the electric components and mesh them seamlessly with an internal-combustion engine. ICE and electric systems are now managed by dedicated controllers, and there’s little plan to integrate them in the near term.

Integration is an important cost-cutting tool for electronics engineers, who can often leverage microcontroller advances to manage more functions with a powerful chip, eliminating a microcontroller or even an entire module. But in this nascent phase of electrification, few engineers are looking at ways to use, say, an engine controller to manage some aspects of the electric system.

Dedicated controls may cost more, but they give developers a lot of freedom. That’s important today, when electric drive systems are being added to different vehicles. Most automakers want to leverage an electric powertrain system in more than one vehicle so they can recoup the high development costs more quickly.

“We’re still pushing engine technology that’s independent of hybrid technology; we want to be able to mix and match,” said Mike Grimes, General Motors’ Technical Fellow for control system architecture. “We keep the architectures separate so we can match any hybrid to any engine.”

On the electric-system side, engineers are still using far more custom devices than in conventional ICE controls systems. Developers usually try to replace custom chips with standard components, but that’s difficult in applications such as electric powertrains, where requirements are still evolving and solutions are improving more rapidly than in mature fuel-based systems. Custom chips are often better suited to new challenges such as managing huge battery packs.

“ASICs are still key parts for battery management,” said Gary Cameron, the director of Forward and Advanced Power Electronics Engineering at Delphi Automotive.

Most engineers feel that there will eventually be a drive to combine ICE and electric controls, though it’s too early to suggest much of a timeframe for this sort of up integration. However, some are already thinking about which functions will be the easiest to combine.

“In an effort to control costs, transmission controls will be up integrated into the hybrid controller as volumes increase,” said Carl Bonfiglio, Senior Marketing Manager, Powertrain & Electric at Infineon Technologies North America.

Share
HTML for Linking to Page
Page URL
Grade
Rate It
4.43 Avg. Rating

Read More Articles On

2018-01-24
The technology uses multiple foils with multiple messages and an LED light source. Each specific message is burned onto the holographic film through a photographic process.
2018-01-24
Osram, a leading global lighting and semiconductor manufacturer, has expanded into pulse infrared lasers for autonomous LIDAR use and is working with with Vergence Automation for advanced imaging technology.
2018-01-23
Designers are envisioning new looks for vehicle interiors, as in-vehicle connectivity and electrified powertrains usher in the autonomous driving age. As more EVs enter the marketplace with battery packs housed underneath the cabin floor, the door opens to a new era of interiors.

Related Items

Training / Education
2010-08-03
Training / Education
2007-03-01
Book
2006-01-01
Training / Education
2011-04-12
X