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Modular vehicle test procedure

Ulrich Schrade, the head of institute of automotive technologies at Ulm University of Applied Sciences, Germany, explains the key features of the test procedure

 

What is the modular real-life vehicle test procedure developed by your team?
Compared with current test procedures such as the NEDC it is much closer to real-life driving. Urban and extra-urban driving cycles on level routes or with up- and downhill grades can be combined with a motorway module. All modules work with realistic acceleration rates and speeds. Thus fuel consumption and emissions measured in this procedure are very close to real-life values. Electric or hybrid powertrains in particular can be evaluated in a way that properly reflects the requirements of real traffic.

What are the shortcomings of existing test procedures in this area?
The existing test procedure doesn’t provide realistic representation of acceleration, it’s very schematic. It was designed at a time when test rigs had no electronical data management. They just had simple values and acceleration rates or maxium speeds with deceleration down to a certain speed and a stand still, then the same again. Due to the low acceleration rates and the lack of high speeds there isn’t much power from the engine needed to drive the cycle. Also, there are no slopes in the existing test procedure which isn’t realistic at all. We think with our modular real life driving cycle we will be able to define much more realistic consumption levels compared with the existing test procedure.

How does it achieve that?
We drove real roads and we used a satellite navigation system to track our location, the temperature and sea level data. With this data we could calculate the slopes downhill and uphill every second. We obtained all the required sets of values; speed, acceleration, downhill and uphill gradients throughout the cycle. We used Vector’s CANoe and CANape to read and write the CAN bus data for the car. We used a specially equipped Daimler Vito, but the system could also be installed in any vehicle. We used this van because it gave us the possibility to install other equipment and to take up to five students with us. We operated it in ordinary traffic and selected typical routes with stopping and starting, and downhill routes where you can drive at 50kmh or 60kmh, for example. Then we drove outside the city and chose one route which was on even ground and another which had slopes. There were five modules in total – an urban module and an extra urban module with one on even ground and one on sloped roads, and an autobahn module where we drove up to 130km. Particularly here compared to the existing cycle, we drove on the motorway for much longer – we drove for 80 seconds but in the new European driving cycle it is only driven for 10 seconds up to 120kmh.

Where are you hoping to go from here?
We hope that companies will be interested in using this test procedure and we’d like to further develop it. This is the first step we’ve made in this direction. International councils have been discussing the worldwide harmonized light vehicles test procedure, which is intended to be closer to real driving but it does not include slopes, which is unique to our test. On the other hand we will continue work at our institute comparing different cars in this cycle and comparing these with the existing cycle to find out where the differences are. We’ll drive it with sports car, low power cars and high power cars to obtain more data.

 

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