Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering (MS)

Administrative Home Department

Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics

Advisor 1

Mahdi Shahbakhti

Advisor 2

Darrell Robinette

Committee Member 1

Jeffrey Naber


Integrated thermal energy management across system level components in electric vehicles (EVs) and hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) is currently an under explored space. The proliferation of connected vehicles and accompanying infrastructure in recent years provides additional motivation to explore opportunities in optimizing thermal energy management in EVs and HEVs with the help of this newly available connected vehicle data. This thesis aims to examine and analyze the potential to mitigate vehicle energy consumption and extend usable driving range through optimal control strategies which exploit physical system dynamics via controls integration of vehicle subsystems.

In this study, data-driven and physics-based models for heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) are developed and utilized along with the vehicle dynamics and powertrain (VD\&PT) models for a GM Chevrolet Volt hybrid electric vehicle to enable co-optimization of HVAC and VD\&PT systems of HEVs. The information available in connected vehicles like driver schedules, trip duration and ambient conditions is leveraged along with the vehicle system dynamics to predict operating conditions of the vehicle under study. All this information is utilized to optimize the operation of an integrated HVAC and VD\&PT system in a hybrid electric vehicle to achieve the goal of reduced energy consumption.

For achieving the goals outlined for this thesis, an integrated HVAC and VD\&PT model is developed and the various components, sub-systems and systems are validated against real world test data. Then, integrated relationships relevant to the thermal dynamics of an HEV are established. These relationships comprise the combined operational characteristics of the internal combustion (IC) engine coolant and the cabin electric heater for cabin heating, coordinated controls of IC engine using engine coolant and catalyst temperatures for cabin thermal conditioning in cold ambient conditions and the combined operational characteristics of the air-conditioning compressor for conditioning both cabin and high-voltage battery in an HEV. Next, these sub-system and system relationships are used to evaluate potential energy savings in cabin heating and cooling when vehicle's operating schedule is known.

Finally, an optimization study is conducted to establish an energy efficient control strategy which maximizes the HVAC energy efficiency whilst maintaining occupant comfort levels according to ASHRAE standards, all while improving the usable range of the vehicle relative to its baseline calibration. The mean energy savings in overall vehicle energy consumption using an integrated HVAC - Powertrain control strategy and a coordinated thermal management strategy proposed in this work are $3$\% and $14$\% respectively.