Group A teams started testing this week during the EcoCAR Spring Workshop held at EPA’s National Fuels and Vehicle Emissions Laboratory (NFVEL).
“Dynamometer testing at EPA allows us to test vehicle emissions as well as fuel and energy consumption in a controlled and repeatable environment,” said Henning Lohse-Busch, Principal Mechanical Engineer at Argonne National Laboratory (ANL) and ANL Dyno Testing Event Captain.
All EcoCAR teams planned the drive cycles they would use to test their vehicles in advance of Spring Workshop. Some of these drive cycles include cold starts, highway driving cycles, and urban dyno drive schedules (UDDS).
Each team has the chance to complete two four-hour testing sessions to evaluate their emissions and fuel energy consumption. The first four-hour session goal is to evaluate the team’s powertrain according to their test plan. The second four-hour cycle starts with a cold test Federal Test Procedure (FTP), followed by a pair of highway drive cycles.
“The second testing session is very similar to what the original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) have to go through, so each team gets to experience what the real-world OEM process is like,” said Lohse-Busch.
As of mid-week, four teams have been able to perform the first four-hour dynamometer testing cycle based on their test plans, including Virginia Tech, Penn State, Ohio State and Mississippi State. Penn State and Virginia Tech were able to complete both four-hour test cycles late in the day on Wednesday.
“We have been running our vehicle really hard but we are getting great data from testing,” said Katie Kirsch, controls team member for Penn State. “We’ve been able to run a cold start urban cycle and two highway cycles to test our diesel emissions. From the data we collected, we can take it back to Penn State and then tweak our emissions system before competition in June.”
Not only is the vehicle dyno testing important to the students, but EPA has also been able to seize the opportunity to do further testing for their own research purposes.
“EPA was able to have the both Penn State and Virginia Tech complete additional full-charge test sequences on the vehicles,” said Lohse-Busch. “In fact, Virginia Tech was able to complete nine UDDS cycles in an electric vehicle (EV) mode during testing, getting about 68 miles in EV. Both the teams and EPA have found this workshop really insightful.”
As we head into Day Four, Group A teams will continue to test their vehicles on the dyno and Group B vehicles will arrive at EPA for the initial safety tech inspection. Be sure to check back on the Green Garage Blog for more updates!