Two companies have teamed up to create a software platform that simulates the operation of electric cars and hybrids, from the movement of ions in the battery cells to the hum of the electric motors and engines.
The platform could be significant for makers of electrified vehicles because it enables them to model the performance of battery cells, packs, cooling systems, and electronics, in addition to simulating how the battery works with electric motors, transmissions, internal combustion engines, and other powered systems.
"Designers can experiment," John Milios, CEO of Sendyne Corp., told Design News. "They can switch between different types of cooling systems -- liquid-cooled or air-cooled. They can try it with forced air or without forced air. And they can see all the implications and limitations of each."
Sendyne’s‘s CellMod simulates the physics and electrochemistry of the battery and delivers that information to GT-Suite, which places the battery’s performance in the context of the car’s total energy flow.
(Source: Sendyne Corp.)
The makers of the software platform -- Sendyne Corp. and Gamma Technologies -- make the software in separate parts. Gamma's GT-Suite simulates the total car, including the internal combustion engine, transmission, electronics, air conditioner, after-treatment systems, and all other components that affect the total flow of power through the vehicle. Sendyne's CellMod CPM models the physics and electrochemistry of single cells, then works with the company's RTSim to simulate the operation of an entire battery pack, which may consist of thousands of cells.
The physics-based software packages could offer a better way for developers of electrified vehicles and battery packs to understand how batteries will behave over time. Even today, most battery makers still aren't sure how their packs will hold up over time, largely because no manufacturer has the luxury of a 10- or 15-year test period for each new chemistry it rolls out. The new simulation programs enable engineers to analyze a product's performance and degradation under varying conditions. By dynamically modeling the battery, for example, they can see how it would be affected by repeated overcharge, undercharge, or hot or cold conditions.
"They can see if the battery heats up beyond the battery manufacturer's specifications," Milios told us. "They can see when it's time for regenerative braking. And then they can design the control algorithms to manage the sources of power."
During simulation, the RTSim battery software interfaces with GT-Suite, delivering vital information on the state of the battery to the overall vehicle simulation. That way, GT-Suite can predict the interactions between the battery and various subsystems, and place it all in the context of the car's total energy flow.
Milios said that modeling packages for EV batteries have existed previously, but without the detail that's available in the new platform. The new platform accounts more effectively for subtleties in the relationship between cells and packs, even allowing for differences between the performance of cells in the same pack. "This gives the designers more capabilities and allows them to do it faster," he said.