Investigating Vehicle Drive Trains That Can Reduce Fuel Consumption

Achievement date: 
2014
Outcome/accomplishment: 

Researchers affiliated with the Center for Compact and Efficient Fluid Power (CCEFP), an NSF-funded Engineering Research Center (ERC) headquartered at the University of Minnesota, are investigating the design and performance of alternative drive-train configurations for both on-road and off-road applications.

Impact/benefits: 

The researchers are aiming to develop system configurations that are capable of significantly reducing fuel consumption while maintaining the original system performance.

Explanation/Background: 

For years researchers at Purdue’s Maha laboratory have developed and explored various drive-train configurations, including power-split transmissions, multi-motor concepts, and a new blended-hybrid transmission. Two Hardware-In-The-Loop (HIL) transmission test rigs aid the researchers in bringing these drive-train configurations closer to production.

In 2013, researchers assisted an industrial partner with investigating high-performance oils in one of the HIL transmission test rigs. The fluids tested were purpose blended for optimizing the performance of hydraulic hybrid transmissions. Purdue’s HIL test rig (see figure) was especially well suited for the industrial partner’s requirement that the transmission operate repeatedly in a realistic manner with full data acquisition capabilities. This research project is another example of how the ERC is assisting industry with bringing hydraulic hybrid technologies to market.