Vehicle propulsion systems are evolving to include more hybrid and purely electric systems. This trend has revived interest in hub-motor technology where the electric motor providing traction torque is integrated into the wheel, providing space saving and packaging advantages and enabling enhanced vehicle stability control through torque vectoring. The disadvantage of this approach is a significant increase in unsprung mass, which may detract from ride quality. This paper describes the development of a novel in-wheel coupled active suspension and drive system. This system utilizes two motors per wheel and a two degree of freedom kinematic mechanism that allows their torque to be utilized for both vertical suspension actuation as well as rotational actuation of the wheel. The system is designed such that when the motors are providing equal torque in the same direction, all energy is directed to traction and longitudinal propulsion of the vehicle. When the torque output of the motors is unequal, a net vertical force is applied to the wheel causing the suspension to move vertically and enabling active control of ride quality as well as control of vehicle attitude in acceleration, braking, and cornering. This paper will discuss the design of the system including kinematic synthesis, drive component selection, and simulation using multi-body dynamics software. Vertical, longitudinal, and combined actuation was tested and analyzed using multiple torque combinations and loading conditions. Although this integrated propulsion drive and active suspension architecture inherently tightly couples the longitudinal and vertical dynamics of the vehicle, the results of the simulations show that the system is capable of actuating in either degree of freedom independently, or in a coupled mode where it actuates in both modes simultaneously. The simulations showed that the system was capable of actively controlling the vertical wheel position while maintaining constant drive torque and rotational velocity of the wheel.
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- In-Wheel Coupled Suspension and Drive: Design, Development, and Modeling
- Springer Berlin Heidelberg
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