Lucid Motors is a premium mobility company that is reimagining what a car can be. The company is applying innovative engineering, design, and technology to define a new class of premium electric vehicle. Headquartered in Menlo Park, California, in the heart of Silicon Valley, the Lucid Team brings deep expertise from the automotive and technology industries. The Lucid Air all-electric sedan combines forward-looking design with groundbreaking technology to establish an entirely new class of vehicle. Its production will start in 2019, with deliveries taking place shortly thereafter. For more information, visit lucidmotors.com
This brief article summarises how California-based electric car company, Lucid Motors, used the CAE application, ModeFRONTIER for performing Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD), to test and simulate various conceptual designs for the inverter of its new all-electric sedan in order to more efficiently manage the engine’s temperature while reducing the failure rates.
The first Lucid Air all-electric sedan will include up to 400 mile-range battery options and a 1,000 horsepower twin-motor configuration with all-wheel drive. In preparation for production, Lucid Air prototypes are undergoing a rigorous development program. modeFRONTIER has been used – together with other applications – to optimize the design of an inverter with the aim of enhancing efficiency and minimizing failure rates.
An inverter is an electronic device that converts the direct current (DC) stored in the battery into alternating current (AC) and sends electricity to the three phases of the AC induction motor. Overheating is the most critical issue after vibration, humidity and dust when designing a drive inverter for hybrid- and pure electric vehicles. Its efficiency is instead driven by low chip-to-coolant thermal conductivity together with temperature balance and low pumping pressure. The Lucid Motors team focused on designing an inverter cooling system that keeps the temperature under control.
Starting from the conceptual design of a cooling channel with different configurations, engineers at Lucid Motors performed different design of experiments (DOE) evaluations and sensitivity analyses using a fully parametric Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) model with modeFRONTIER, which enabled them to find optimal design candidates for temperature reduction, lowering pressure and minimizing channel size. “After deciding on an optimum channel solution, we went further and optimized the manifold design by including a mesh morphing step in the modeFRONTIER process integration workflow. The objectives there were to keep pressure variations low and reduce velocity variation”, said David Moseley, Director, Powertrain, Lucid Motors.
modeFRONTIER provided an environment to identify optimal inverter designs while enhancing efficiency and minimizing failure rates. The use of modeFRONTIER enabled Lucid engineers to make more power available to the inverter and increase alternative current from 1200 to 1500A. The ESTECO technology also supported the Lucid Air development in optimizing suspension components and enhancing the thermal performance for the motor cooling.
modeFRONTIER provides a seamless coupling with third party engineering tools, enables the automation of the design simulation process, and facilitates analytic decision making.
This study was part of the Virtual Optimization PAsta production process (OPAV) research project,
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