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Transportation – Cost-cutting controls

Researchers from ORNL’s Vehicle and Autonomy Research Group created a control strategy for a hybrid electric bus that demonstrated up to 30% energy savings. Credit: University of California, Riverside

Oak Ridge National Laboratory researchers developed and demonstrated algorithm-based controls for a hybrid electric bus that yielded up to 30% energy savings compared with existing controls.

The Integrated Eco-Drive technology used a combination of powertrain control techniques, advanced machine learning and multiple sensors to determine an optimal driving speed that conserves the most energy. The technology, developed in collaboration with the University of California, Riverside, and US Hybrid Corporation, offers significant energy savings for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles operated on defined bus and delivery truck routes. The system was subsequently licensed by US Hybrid.

“Co-optimizing the combustion engine output, electric motor output and battery state of charge – and taking into account the repeated route – helps us ensure the best performance,” said ORNL’s Zhiming Gao.

“We can apply this same strategy to light-duty cars and trucks, especially networks of connected vehicles, and realize significant energy savings,” ORNL’s Tim LaClair said.