Evaluation of Fuel Savings due to Powertrain Electrification of Class 8 Trucks
Ever-increasing need for freight transportation and mounting environmental concerns call for a cleaner and more efficient energy source. Hybrid electric vehicles have shown potential to reduce both petroleum usage as well as harmful emissions. In this thesis, a newly developed series hybrid electric powertrain by a small start-up company is studied on a route between Florence, Kentucky and Cambridge, Ohio hubs to evaluate potential fuel savings due to hybridization.
An experimental testing protocol to calculate fuel economy has been developed and the real-world fuel economy of this hybrid electric powertrain is calculated. A vehicle simulation model representing the experimental powertrain is created in Autonomie and this vehicle model is simulated on three distinct drive cycles obtained from experimental testing phase. These results are compared with a conventional class 8 truck to evaluate fuel savings. The simulation analysis indicates that fuel economy of hybrid is better on only one of the three drive cycles under consideration. Further, it is determined that the existing powertrain does not meet the gradeability criterion. To remedy this, a series electric hybrid powertrain with different compo-
nent sizes is then modeled and simulated on the same drive cycles. The modified powertrain is found to result in fuel economy improvement on all three drive cycles considered while also meeting the gradeability requirement. The effect of drive cycle on fuel economy of a hybrid powertrain is also studied in this thesis.