Power Electronics

Siemens software manages vehicle power based on demand

“Power Trader” software from Siemens VDO Automotive AG allows a vehicle’s electric system to monitor and regulate power requirements based on available supply and instant demand. The software shifts power usage throughout the vehicle, from comfort and convenience features that consume large amounts of energy to safety and driving-relevant systems when even more electricity is needed.

As one example, the power requirements of a turbocharger and other electronic drive train components in passing or overtaking operating conditions can be met by decreasing the electrical consumption of the seat-heating element for a few milliseconds.

Siemens says the Power Trader software solution can be implemented without major modifications to a vehicle’s electrical system, and without installing additional controllers. Estimating that an average vehicle’s power demand will soon be approximately 2.5 kW, Siemens says integrated starter-generators, expected in 2010 to coincide with 42 V onboard networks, provide more than 6 kW of continuous electrical energy.

Besides power supply augmentation, integrated starter-generators can boost internal combustion engine output during the acceleration phase or power a vehicle completely in stop and start situations. According to Siemens, integrated starter-generators demand “supercaps”--high-performance capacitors that can be highly charged during normal vehicle operation.

By 2020 or thereabouts, according to Siemens, electrical power demand will be dictated by a vehicle’s powertrain, with fuel cells employed as primary vehicle drives or as ancillary electric power packs complementing the internal combustion engine. Energy management and high-capacity energy accumulators will still be needed, however, since fuel cells require a few minutes of operation to attain their maximum power output.

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