International automotive supplier MAHLE has been testing electrified powertrain technology using a range-extending combustion engine and a demonstrator vehicle that it developed in-house.
The company’s Powertrain division has developed control software that can manage the consumption of battery energy for plug-in hybrids through a combination of GPS and topographical road data.
MAHLE’s REEV demonstrator vehicle uses an in-line two-cylinder design with an integrated generator, making the range extending engine quite compact. The 55 kW (100 kW peak) electric motor and two-speed reduction transmission are also small. The vehicle is designed to accommodate the electric powertrain without sacrificing loading volume. The 14 kWh battery is installed below the floor in the spare wheel recess.
MAHLE optimized the operating strategy of the range extender for minimal fuel consumption.
Bernie Porter, head of MAHLE’s Calibration and Controls Engineering group, explained that using GPS to analyze the route prior to the start of a journey enables the new software to calculate the battery’s available power throughout a trip. “This enables the software to pre-determine the optimum operating strategy for the gasoline engine, resulting in the best charging efficiency.”