Influences of drive torque distribution on road vehicle handling and efficiency

Griffin, Joseph W. (2015) Influences of drive torque distribution on road vehicle handling and efficiency. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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With recent developments in active vehicle drivelines and the trend towards the use of electric propulsion in road vehicles, the optimal way to distribute power in a vehicle has become an interesting area of research. Automobiles with Active Torque Distribution (ATD) capabilities demonstrate improved handling and stability, and there is the possibility that energy consumption could be reduced through better distribution of power. Motorcycles that can apply some of the drive torque at the front wheel exist, with the aim of increasing tractive force on low-friction surfaces.

Research is required to investigate the effects of torque distribution on the handling and efficiency of motorcycles and automobiles.

In this work, multibody models of both motorcycles and automobiles are created, and are verified with existing mathematical models. The vehicle models include the influences of suspension, aerodynamics and gyroscopic effects, and complex tyre models are used that account for combined lateral and longitudinal slip and the vertical loading situation. Simple driver models are used to control the speed and yaw rate of the vehicles while they undertake a series of on-road manoeuvres.

Left–right torque vectoring is shown to be effective in the alteration of the steady-state handling characteristics of the automobile, and front–rear torque vectoring has a small effect at high speeds. A slight increase is possible in transient responsiveness at moderate speeds, but instabilities can be exacerbated at high speeds. In motorcycles, the torque distribution has only a small effect on handling in steady-state situations. During straight-running, the optimum efficiency of the both vehicles is shown to occur when the torque is distributed in proportion with the vertical load at the tyres. During cornering, a slight additional bias towards the front wheel(s) is beneficial.

Despite the alteration in handling characteristics made available through ATD, the effects of weight distribution and tyre characteristics still dominate. At normal speeds, almost the same effect on automobile handling can be achieved through left–right torque vectoring in a front- or rear-wheel-drive vehicle, as in a four-wheel-drive vehicle. In these steady-state situations, the energy efficiency of the vehicles varies only by small amounts, with aerodynamic and lateral slip dissipations dominating.

The models presented in this thesis, and the results and conclusions obtained from them, offer the designers of future vehicles useful information for the improvement of vehicle handling, efficiency and quality.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Popov, A.A.
Keywords: Vehicle Motorcycle Dynamics Handling Efficiency Torque Vectoring Active Torque Distribution
Subjects: T Technology > TL Motor vehicles. Aeronautics. Astronautics
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Engineering
UK Campuses > Faculty of Engineering > Department of Mechanical, Materials and Manufacturing Engineering
Item ID: 28670
Depositing User: Griffin, Joseph
Date Deposited: 15 Sep 2015 08:18
Last Modified: 15 Dec 2017 12:00

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