Fuel economy modeling of light-duty and heavy-duty vehicles, and coastdown study
Development of a fuel economy model for light-duty and heavy-duty vehicles is part of the Texas Department of Transportation’s “Estimating Texas Motor Vehicle Operating Costs” project. A literature review for models that could be used to predict the fuel economy of light-duty and heavy-duty vehicles resulted in selection of coastdown coefficients to simulate the combined effects of aerodynamic drag and tire rolling resistance. For light-duty vehicles, advantage can be taken of the modeling data provided by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for adjusting chassis dynamometers to allow accurate determination of emissions and fuel economy so that compliance with emissions standards and Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) regulations can be assessed. Initially, EPA provided vehicle-specific data that were relevant to a physics-based model of the forces at the tire-road interface. Due to some limitations of these model parameters, EPA now provides three vehicle-specific coefficients obtained from vehicle coastdown data. These coefficients can be related back to the original physics-based model of the forces at the tire-road interface, but not in a manner that allows the original modeling parameters to be extracted from the coastdown coefficients. Nevertheless, as long as the operation of a light-duty vehicle does not involve extreme acceleration or deceleration transients, the coefficients available from the EPA can be used to accurately predict fuel economy. Manufacturers of heavy-duty vehicles are not required to meet any sort of CAFE standards, and the engines used in heavy-duty vehicles, rather than the vehicles themselves, are tested (using an engine dynamometer) to determine compliance with emissions standards. Therefore, EPA provides no data that could be useful for predicting the fuel economy of heavy-duty vehicles. Therefore, it is necessary to perform heavyduty coastdown tests in order to predict fuel economy, and use these tests to develop vehicle-specific coefficients for the force at the tire-road interface. Given these coefficients, the fuel economy of a heavy-duty vehicle can be calculated for any driving schedule. The heavy-duty vehicle model developed for this project is limited to pre-2007 calendar year heavy-duty vehicles due to the adverse effects of emissions components that were necessary to comply with emissions standards that went into effect January 2007.