Tools to create better batteries are the most obvious result of the Clarios partnership with the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research (CU-ICAR).
“We’re building on the university’s research to accelerate our new product development,” says Zoe Jin, Clarios director of modeling and requirement analysis. Over the last four years, the partnership has focused on three projects.
Identifying the effects of driver behavior on battery life.
CU-ICAR faculty and graduate students analyzed third-party vehicle field operational data to generate representative drive cycles for selected features like driver aggressiveness. Clarios can now work with OE engineers to incorporate these custom cycles in models for hybrid electric vehicle powertrains and controls to further extend battery life.
Creating an accelerated battery aging model.
Clemson researchers identified and quantified the effects of ambient temperature and discharge rate on nickel-manganese-cobalt lithium-ion batteries for 48-volt mild hybrid electric vehicles. The resulting aging model gives Clarios a valuable tool in battery design for this multi-battery system.
Balancing fuel economy and battery life.
Embedding the battery aging model and an energy management model in a midsize 48-volt mild hybrid electric vehicle, the CU-ICAR team developed an interface that makes it easier for Clarios engineers to evaluate technology and optimize for fuel economy/battery life based on specific OEM needs.
Jin, who holds a doctorate in chemical engineering as well as several patents, says she is pleased with the university’s fresh, in-depth ideas. “They bring strengths in optimization algorithms, big data analytics, cloud computing and artificial intelligence,” she says. “Their approach to modeling is state-of-the-art.”
And the benefits of the partnership go beyond tools and data. Jin says she enjoys the opportunity to bring a practical perspective to the leading-edge research, adding, “Our insights help CU-ICAR be even more effective, leveraging their advanced propulsion and vehicle expertise to focus on projects that are useful for the industry.” Graduate students also appreciate the opportunity to help industry engineers solve real-world problems.
Jin says a willingness to listen and be attentive to each other’s needs is key to a successful joint development project. “We enhance our design capabilities, and they learn from us, get a chance to educate new talent,” she says. “We benefit, and Clemson benefits.