Optimizing for Efficiency or Battery Life in a Battery/Supercapacitor Electric Vehicle


A novel energy control strategy for a battery/supercapacitor vehicle, which is designed to be tunable to achieve different goals, is described. Two possible goals for adding a pack of supercapacitors are examined for a test vehicle using lead–acid batteries: 1) improving the vehicle's efficiency and range and 2) reducing the peak currents in the battery pack to increase battery life. The benefits of hybridization are compared with those achievable by increasing the size of the battery pack by a comparable mass to the supercapacitors. The availability of energy from regenerative braking and the characteristics of the supercapacitors are considered as impact factors. Supercapacitors were found to be effective at reducing peak battery currents; however, the benefits to range extension were found to be limited. A battery life extension of at least 50% is necessary to make supercapacitors cost effective for the test vehicle at current prices.

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