Overcoming Electric Drive Development Challenges for Electric & Autonomous Vehicles

One of the automotive industry’s greatest hopes for the future is the electric vehicle. As more and more electric vehicles hit the road, the benefits add up: less dependence on fossil fuels; fewer greenhouse gas emissions; overall greener and more economical travel. Electrifying transportation isn’t as simple as just flipping a switch, and manufacturers need to overcome the challenges of electric drive development.

The Complex Shift from Internal Combustion to Battery Powered

Designing an electric vehicle is a complex process that differs greatly from designing a traditional vehicle. The engineers who were developing internal combustion engines had about a century to make the technology work perfectly. But the engineers who are working on electrification only have a decade to design an electric vehicle that can match or exceed the performance of a traditional vehicle. Electric vehicle engineers must integrate both, the battery along with the electric drive, into the vehicle.

The electric drive is a complicated system whose parts need to work together effectively and efficiently. These include the gearbox and electric machine, which need to be designed carefully to avoid over-designing. Over-designing leads to excess material, weight and cost and system engineering help to precise and balance targets like maximum torque, power, and speed, in the context of the whole vehicle.

The design must fulfill requirements for performance, efficiency, thermal, noise and vibration, etc. It is key to include multi-disciplinary design explorations and optimizations to reduce the required time of the development cycle.

Virtual Twins, a Solution to Electric Drive Development

A company can move from the physical drawing board world of design and prototype testing to the virtual world of digital validation by undergoing a digital transformation. In the virtual world of digital verification, development cycles are sped up by integrating disciplines and democratizing access. In the physical world, design and prototype testing still occur. The advancement was only possible with simulation playing a central role. To build internal combustion engines, simulation is an essential step. In the coming years, it will become even more critical for the advancement of electric drives, enabling manufacturers to compete successfully and stay in business.

Through virtual prototyping, which allows the testing of designs in real-world conditions, simulation enables us to forecast the real-world physical behavior of a product. Simulation helps us enhance product quality while lowering the costs of testing prototypes and materials. Through the identification of optimal compromises, simulation contributes to the enhancement of the efficiency, dependability, and performance of interdependent electric-drive systems.

Enhancing Performance with Multiphysics Simulation

The electric-drive development process entails some key challenges that could be addressed with Multiphysics simulation:

  • Acoustic tonal noises that are perceived as unpleasant by passengers are no longer masked when the electric machine replaces the internal combustion engine. Therefore, it is important for engineers to understand and alleviate the sources of noise & vibration in this new system, to ensure passengers’ acoustic comfort.
  • Thermal management is another significant challenge during electric-drive development. The heat generated during operations has a prevailing effect on the performance of the electric drives. Thus, efficient heat regulation for both the electric machine and power electronics is critical to the precise functioning of electric drives.
  • Lubrication also plays a vital role in electric-drive development, as the oil-induced drag torque on the rotating components is the leading contributor to the overall losses. Therefore, to enhance the range with similar battery capacity, the oil level in the electric drives needs to be optimized.

Electric Drive Optimization with 3DEXPERIENCE Platform

The framework for multi-discipline Electric Drive development and optimization developed by Dassault Systèmes employs simulation on the collaborative 3DEXPERIENCE platform in a more inclusive manner than ever before. Simulation is no longer the sole realm of specialists; it has undergone democratization. Dassault Systèmes has guaranteed that it is compatible with the entire collaborative process, making it accessible to everyone.

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