Cars are not just getting charged – they are also getting smarter and more perceptive, and these technological trends reinforce each other in many ways. Increasingly, vehicles use real-time data about their surroundings to maximize the efficiency of their electrified powertrains.
A prime example is Mercedes-Benz’s Intelligent HYBRID system, an energy management system for hybrid vehicles that assesses the road ahead and takes it into account in order to maximize the benefit of recuperation energy. Mercedes has used the strategy in the S-Class since summer 2013, and has incorporated it into the new C-Class.
Intelligent HYBRID works to ensure that the high-voltage battery is charged just enough to take advantage of all opportunities for recuperation provided by the route and the terrain.
According to Mercedes, many hybrids waste energy when driving downhill, because the high-voltage battery often has too high a charge to be able to store all the regenerated energy. With the Mercedes system, if the state of charge of the battery is too high, the electric motor boosts the combustion engine to discharge the battery enough to be able to store all of the expected recuperation energy.
The system uses data from the COMAND Online navigation system to calculate the recuperation potential of the road ahead. This information is processed by the Central Powertrain Controller (CPC), which then initiates anticipatory measures. Intelligent HYBRID also functions when route guidance is inactive, by calculating the probability of the driver making a turn depending on the category of the road.