The Auto Channel
The Largest Independent Automotive Research Resource
Official Website of the New Car Buyer

Intermap Teams with Clemson University to Improve Fuel Efficiency for Hybrid Electric Vehicles

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

DENVER January 14, 2009: Intermap Technologies today announced that Clemson University is entering the second phase of research efforts sponsored by Intermap. The project is focused on developing a control scheme for hybrid powered passenger vehicles that capitalizes on Intermap’s NEXTMap 3D road data to more efficiently manage the use of the gas engine and the electric drive.

During phase one of the project, the Company provided Clemson with Intermap-generated road profiles of Contra Costa County, California. The profiles were used in a simulation designed by Clemson to investigate the benefits of predictive road grade information in HEV energy management. A key objective for phase two, scheduled for completion August 2009, is to further quantify and validate promising phase one results.

“The goal of the research is to quantify the improvements to energy management of hybrid vehicles through the use of upcoming road terrain information,” states Mechanical Engineering Professor Ardalan Vahidi of Clemson University. “We have constructed a detailed simulation model of hybrid electric vehicles with parallel configurations and have modified several existing power management strategies to include future terrain information.”

The HEV power management strategy is based on the algorithm that determines the split of power generated by the combustion engine and the electric drive. A truly optimal power management strategy depends on extending the driving trajectory beyond the upcoming horizon through the implementation of the Intermap 3D road vectors to enable the judicious use of electric power. For example, advance knowledge of an upcoming hill through GPS and Intermap 3D road maps can enable the power management scheme to charge the battery pack in anticipation of larger power demand during an uphill ascent, insuring that the electric drive is fully utilized before traveling downhill in anticipation of the regenerative power available during descent. According to Chen Zhang, a member of Vahidi’s research team, “Simulation results revealed a 3% average improvement in fuel economy based on knowledge of future terrain. Steeper grades showed more promising gains, which will be further investigated in the second phase.”

“While the concept of enabling power management strategies in vehicles through knowledge of the road ahead is still in its infancy, we expect that many ideas will emerge for the use of geospatial data to increase operating efficiencies. We are already seeing that energy efficiencies in vehicles powered by hybrid technology can be further enhanced through innovations like predictive road topology enabled by our NEXTMap 3D road vectors,” states Eric DesRoche, senior vice president of Intermap’s Automotive & Consumer Electronics division. “Based on the average price of fuel last year, it is estimated that approximately $43 million in fuel costs could have been saved in 2008 if all of the HEVs on the road in the U.S. alone used our NEXTMap 3D road data. Fuel consumption and cost projections indicate that between $524 million and $627 million could be saved between now and 2015. Intermap is proud to be part of a visionary program committed to maximizing efficiencies in hybrid vehicles, thereby helping to reduce carbon emissions and fuel consumption, ensuring a greener, more sustainable environment.”