- Published in Technology.
Continental has developed a family of powertrain ECUs that will make combustion engine and hybrid vehicles more energy efficient. As well as engine control, the devices can also handle battery management.
Known as EMS3, the black boxes use GPS and topographical data to determine a 3D plan of the intended journey and optimise battery charging points and how best to operate the engine, electric motors or the combination of both.
Jörg Grotendorst, Continental's head of powertrain strategy and technology, said: “With our new engine management platform we coordinate power but we also direct the flow of energy along the drivetrain.”
One of the reasons for the increased functionality is to make hybrids more affordable: better energy management means that cheaper batteries with lower energy capacity can be used to achieve a given range.
Conti's idea is that a smaller battery that is always at full capacity can be as effective as a larger one which can only be recharged periodically. The Tier One's development team created algorithms to determine how much energy would be required to make a given journey; not just in total but also broken down into stages – powertrain load is not constant.
The ECU takes data from the navigation system on distance, topography, the number and spacing of curves in the road, and speed limits. It also monitors driving style. It then predicts when regenerative braking will occur, when charging using the combustion engine will be most efficient and when electric-only propulsion will be possible. Conti said that energy consumption can be cut by 10%.