Innovative vehicle energy architectures are investigated and developed in the department of Vehicle Energy Concepts. Employees render research and development services in demand at the national and international level for optimising the energy needs of future vehicle concepts for road and rail. Besides mid-sized companies from the surrounding region, automobile and rail vehicle manufacturers as well as their subcontractors are industrial partners.
Tasks comprise the systematic interplay of energy storage units, energy transmission paths and technologies, as well as special components for energy conversion or specific application. They extend from conceptual consideration, through simulation and layout design, to the prototype set-up of selected technologies and from there to the set-up of research vehicles. The use of a comprehensive roller rig structure with battery, fuel cell, and electrical motor test rigs, as well as a climate-controlled roller rig for validating complete vehicles rounds out the department's competence spectrum. It is thus possible to research the entire functional chain of the energy structures in the vehicle.
Emphases here are on the use of hydrogen as the energy carrier of the future and the provision of electrical energy using fuel cells at the vehicle level. Further, thermal management in vehicles represents an important working topic. Operating strategies for hybridised vehicles are also being developed for rail and utility vehicles.
The overall system approach for road and rail vehicles of the future involves the following:
• increasing energy efficiency through optimisation of hybrid and electrical vehicles' operating strategies,
• innovative drive concepts,
• using unused energy streams,
• improvement of special energy conversion processes,
• integration of novel fuel chains such as hydrogen or electrical energy, and
• systematic combination of technologies.