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Staying Ahead of the Curve: Meeting the Challenges of EV Powertrain Testing
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Staying Ahead of the Curve: Meeting the Challenges of EV Powertrain Testing

In this blog post we show in advance the technical challenges of testing electric vehicles and measuring power quality and how the innovative solutions from Gantner Instruments can help to overcome these challenges.

Navigating the technical challenges of EV Powertrain testing is complicated. As technology advances, testing and measurement applications are becoming increasingly complex.

Technical Challenges in EV Powertrain Testing and Power Quality Measurement

EV Powertrain Testing Challenges

The main challenges in EV powertrain testing involve ensuring the proper functioning and interaction of three key components: the battery, inverter, and motor. The main challenges in EV powertrain testing involve ensuring these three components’ proper functioning and interaction while meeting safety, performance, and efficiency requirements. To overcome these challenges, engineers use a combination of laboratory tests, simulations, and on-road testing to validate the performance of the entire powertrain system. The three main components of an EV powertrain and their unique set of testing challenges include:

  • Battery
    Battery testing challenges involve ensuring capacity, efficiency, and performance under various operating conditions. This requires simulating different temperatures, charge-discharge cycles, and state-of-charge (SOC) levels. Additionally, battery aging and degradation testing is crucial to ensure the long-term reliability and safety of the battery.
  • Inverter
    Inverter testing challenges include ensuring proper motor control, assessing efficiency, and verifying the inverter’s ability to handle different load conditions. Testing the inverter’s thermal performance, protection features, and fault handling is also vital to ensure the overall reliability and safety of the powertrain.
  • Motor
    Motor testing challenges include assessing its efficiency, torque, and power output over a wide range of speeds and load conditions. Testing the motor’s cooling system, noise, vibration, and harshness (NVH) characteristics is crucial to ensure a smooth and comfortable driving experience.
Data Acquisition Solution for Testing Electric Vehicles

Appropriate Measurement Frequency in EV Powertrain Testing

The measurement frequency for EV powertrain testing depends on the specific component being tested and the parameters under examination. Engineers often use a combination of high-speed data acquisition systems and lower-frequency monitoring to balance the need for accurate, high-resolution data with manageable data volumes.

Low Noise Floor with Q.boost platform

Power Quality Measurement Challenges

Power quality is a critical parameter that directly impacts the performance, efficiency, and reliability of an EV’s powertrain. Engineers face numerous challenges when it comes to measuring and maintaining power quality in automotive applications.

  • Harmonics and interharmonics
    Electric vehicles introduce harmonics and interharmonics into the power system due to their non-linear components, such as converters and inverters. These distortions can cause interference, overheating, and malfunctions in sensitive equipment, ultimately affecting the overall power quality. Accurately measuring and analyzing harmonic and interharmonic content is crucial for identifying potential issues and optimizing power quality.
  • Voltage fluctuations and flicker
    EV charging stations, regenerative braking systems, and rapid load changes can cause voltage fluctuations and flicker in the power network. These variations can lead to instability in the power system, causing equipment malfunction or failure. Engineers must carefully monitor and measure voltage fluctuations to maintain the required power quality standards.
  • Transient disturbances
    High-frequency transient disturbances, such as voltage spikes or dips, can result from switching operations, fault conditions, or lightning strikes. These disturbances can cause severe damage to electronic components and affect the reliability of the powertrain system. Identifying and mitigating transient disturbances is essential for maintaining power quality and ensuring the safe operation of automotive systems.
  • Unbalance and asymmetry
    Power systems in electric vehicles may experience unbalance and asymmetry due to uneven load distribution or unequal impedance values in the system components. These conditions can lead to increased losses, reduced efficiency, and potential damage to equipment. Engineers must measure and analyze the unbalance and asymmetry in power systems to optimize power quality and ensure the longevity of the components.
  • Reactive power and power factor
    Reactive power and power factor are crucial parameters in assessing the efficiency of power systems. In electric vehicles, reactive power can be generated by inductive and capacitive loads, such as motors and converters. A poor power factor can result in increased energy losses and reduced system efficiency. Accurate measurement and analysis of reactive power and power factor are necessary to optimize the power system’s performance and minimize energy waste.

The technical challenges of power quality measurement are significant, requiring advanced measurement tools and techniques to ensure optimal performance and efficiency. Next, we will discuss how Gantner Instruments’ Q.boost Power Analyzer can address these challenges, providing accurate and high-resolution data to better analyze and optimize power quality in automotive applications.

Our Solutions for Overcoming These Technical Challenges

Q.boost Power Analyzer: An Advanced Solution for EV Powertrain Testing
The Q.boost Power Analyzer excels in measuring and analyzing voltage and current signals in pulse-width modulated systems, such as electric drives, and assessing power quality parameters like harmonics, interharmonics, voltage fluctuations, transient disturbances, unbalance, and power factor. It boasts a 4 MHz sampling rate per channel, 1.7 MHz bandwidth, an unparalleled noise floor below -140dB (34dB superior to competitors), and less than 3 ppm total harmonic distortion – a remarkable 100x improvement over other devices.

Q.boost Power Analyzer

Equipped with 4 high voltage input channels, 4 inputs for current transducers (e.g., LEM IT, IN, LF series, from Danisens), and a built-in bipolar power supply system, the Q.boost Power Analyzer streamlines your EV powertrain testing and power quality measurement processes.

  • High-resolution data
    With its 4 MHz sampling rate and 1.7 MHz bandwidth, the Q.boost Power Analyzer provides engineers with high-resolution data for better analysis, system optimization, and power quality management.
  • Accurate measurements
    The low noise floor and minimal total harmonic distortion ensure that the Q.boost Power Analyzer delivers highly accurate voltage, current, and power quality measurements.
  • Streamlined testing process
    The built-in bipolar power supply system for current transducers eliminates the need for additional power supply systems and wiring, simplifying the testing and measurement process.
  • Versatile inputs
    The analyzer supports various current transducer inputs, offering flexibility in choosing the right sensors for the application.
  • Comprehensive power quality analysis
    The Q.boost Power Analyzer is designed to measure and analyze critical power quality parameters, such as harmonics, interharmonics, voltage fluctuations, transient disturbances, unbalance, and power factor, helping engineers identify and mitigate potential issues in automotive power systems.

The Q.boost Power Analyzer by Gantner Instruments is an advanced solution that addresses the challenges in EV powertrain testing and power quality measurement in the automotive industry, providing engineers with accurate and high-resolution data for better analysis, system optimization, and power quality management. With its impressive features and performance, the Q.boost Power Analyzer is an essential tool for engineers working on EV powertrain testing and power quality measurement in the automotive industry.

Q.series X: High-voltage Isolation Measurement Modules for Automotive Testing

Gantner Instruments’ bestselling data acquisition product line, Q.series X, includes high-voltage isolation measurement modules with precise and stable signal conditioning and safe electrical isolation up to 5000 VDC peak and 1500 VDC continuously. The modules support various measurement inputs for voltage, current, RTD, thermocouple, IEPE, and strain gage sensors with data sampling up to 100 kHz. Some of the benefits of the Q.series X for Automotive Testing include:

  • Flexible Mixed-Signal Data Acquisition
    The Q.series X is a mixed-signal, multi-channel data acquisition solution offering a versatile range of I/O modules. You can measure voltage, current, temperature, torque, strain, vibration, counters, and more. With this maximum sensor flexibility, the DAQ system can be easily adapted to the demanding requirements of EV powertrain testing.
  • 1500V High-Voltage Galvanic Isolation
    Q.series X high-voltage isolation measurement modules are suitable for voltage, current, RTD, thermocouple, IEPE, and strain gage sensors sampling up to 100 kHz. All high-voltage isolation modules include a minimum of 1500 VDC channel-to-channel, channel-to-supply, and channel-to-bus galvanic isolation.
  • High-Accuracy Thermocouple Measurement
    Temperature is a key measurement for improving battery and overall electric powertrain efficiency. Clever input circuits and high-voltage galvanic isolation ensure the highest accuracy in any test environment.
  • Fully Configurable Data Loggers
    Engine testing generates a lot of data with varying sample rates. Mixed-signal, multi-frequency data logging ensures only the data you need is saved, avoiding unnecessary data storage overhead.
  • Easy Integration
    Easy-to-use APIs, modern publish-subscribe protocols, and various Fieldbus interfaces, like CAN, EtherCAT, and PROFINET, make it simple and easy to integrate the Q.series X into any supervisory control and data acquisition system. Plugins & drivers for LabVIEW, MATLAB, and Python, among others, enable advanced data analysis and reporting.

Inline dynamic switching between resting current and operating current

Measuring the standby current of a battery is crucial for ensuring its safe and efficient operation. The battery’s capacity and lifespan can be optimized by identifying issues such as self-discharge or parasitic loads. To accurately measure the standby current, a Battery Management System (BMS) is required to switch dynamically between resting and operating current without interrupting the power supply to the device under test. This inline dynamic switching capability ensures precise and continuous measurement of the standby current, providing valuable insights into the battery’s performance and health.

By using Gantner Instruments’ DAQ solutions, engineers can gain insights into the battery’s standby current and identify potential issues that could affect the overall performance, safety, and lifespan of the battery. These insights are invaluable for making informed decisions and optimizing battery systems in the automotive and electric vehicle industries.

GI.bench and GI.connectivity: Streamlined Configuration and Connectivity

GI.bench is a powerful software tool for configuring and managing Gantner Instruments’ Q.series X data acquisition systems. GI.connectivity enables seamless integration of Q.series X with third-party software and bus systems, ensuring smooth operation and data flow in your testing environment. Some advantages of using GI.bench and GI.connectivity include:

  • User-friendly interface
    GI.bench offers an intuitive interface, making it easy to configure and manage Q.series X systems.
  • Comprehensive data management
    GI.bench allows users to visualize, analyze, and store acquired data for further processing and reporting.
  • Open API
    GI.connectivity provides an open API, allowing for easy integration with third-party software and various Fieldbus interfaces such as CAN, EtherCAT, and PROFINET.
Configuration and parameter mapping for Q.boost

The technical challenges in EV Powertrain Testing and Power Quality Measurement are significant, but Gantner Instruments’ innovative solutions, such as the Q.boost Power Analyzer and Q.series X, offer engineers the tools they need to overcome these challenges. With high-resolution data, accurate measurements, streamlined testing processes, and easy integration, Gantner Instruments’ products and services provide significant advantages to technical engineering professionals in the Electric Vehicle Testing and Automotive Testing Industries.

Discover more about Gantner Instruments’ Q.boost Power Analyzer and Q.series X by clicking on the button below.

We are looking forward to see you at the next event:

  • The Battery Show 2023 in North America, Novi, MI, from September 12th – 14th

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