Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Legacy Department

Mechanical Engineering


Vahidi, Ardalan

Committee Member

Wagner , John

Committee Member

Daqaq , Mohammed


This research is concerned with the improvement in the fuel economy of heavy transport vehicles through the use of high power ultracapacitors in a mild hybrid electric vehicle platform. Previous work has shown the potential for up to 15% improvement on a hybrid SUV platform, but preliminary simulations have shown the potential improvement for larger vehicles is much higher.
Based on vehicle modeling information from the high fidelity, forward-looking modeling and simulation program Powertrain Systems Analysis Toolkit (PSAT), a mild parallel heavy ultracapacitor hybrid electric vehicle model is developed and validated to known vehicle performance measures. The vehicle is hybridized using a 75kW motor and small energy storage ultracapacitor pack of 56 Farads at 145 Volts. Among all hybridizing energy storage technologies, ultracapacitors pack extraordinary power capability, cycle lifetime, and ruggedness and as such are well suited to reducing the large power transients of a heavy vehicle.
The control challenge is to effectively manage the very small energy buffer (a few hundred Watt-hours) the ultracapacitors provide to maximize the potential fuel economy. The optimal control technique of Dynamic Programming is first used on the vehicle model to obtain the 'best possible' fuel economy for the vehicle over the driving cycles. A variety of energy storage parameters are investigated to aid in determining the best ultracapacitor system characteristics and the resulting effects this has on the fuel economy.
On a real vehicle, the Dynamic Programming method is not very useful since it is computationally demanding and requires predetermined vehicle torque demands to carry out the optimization. The Model Predictive Control (MPC) method is an optimization-based receding horizon control strategy which has shown potential as a powertrain control strategy in hybrid vehicles. An MPC strategy is developed for the hybrid vehicle based on an exponential decay torque prediction method which can achieve near-optimal fuel consumption even for very short prediction horizon lengths of a few seconds. A critical part of the MPC method which can greatly affect the overall control performance is that of the prediction model. The use of telematic based 'future information' to aid in the MPC prediction method is also investigated. Three types of future information currently obtainable from vehicle telematic technologies are speed limits, traffic conditions, and traffic signals, all of which have been incorporated to improve the vehicle fuel economy.