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Engine Control with OpenECU for a Hybrid Vehicle Application

Paul Feetenby, Pi Shurlok Les Smith, MIRA Ltd

Earlier last year MIRA unveiled a new hybrid car development called H4V Project 50:50 funded by the Energy Saving Trust (EST) and MIRA H4V is a series/parallel petrol-electric hybrid with the front axle driven by the engine and the rear axle driven by two electric motors. The hybrid power train is controlled by a vehicle level control unit (VCU) communicating via CAN to an open architecture engine ECU This presentation focuses on the open architecture feature of the engine ECU

H4V Hybrid Car

H4V Schematic Layout

Key Objectives

To enable fly by wire engine control over CAN link for the H4V VCU To reduce engine base fuel consumption To shift minimum BSFC to a lower speed high torque region To evaluate the potential benefits of an open architecture ECU strategy development tool chain

What is an Open Architecture ECU ?

The underlying controller strategy on an engine ECU is closed i.e. exe only. In general, source code strategy is never released by the OE to a third party Limited access to calibrate ECU labels is enabled only to selected Tier 1s by the OE For H4V these limitations were untenable Solution: use an open architecture ECU strategy OpenECU from Pi Shurlok was selected OpenECU is a commercially supported open-architecture automotive controller development tool comprising ECU hardware and software toolbox

Project Plan
Work scope broadly divided into four parts: Phase 1 Modelling and analysis Phase 2 Engine characterisation Phase 3 Migration to OpenECU Phase 4 Integration of OpenECU with H4V car

Phase 1 - Modelling & Analysis

GT -Power Modelling GT-Power

Models of the base engine were developed and used for parametric studies on: Cam profile Valve timing e.g. EMOP-IMOP optimisation Pumping work analysis with and without EGR Ignition advance Inlet system geometry

Engine Performance Prediction

Inlet valve phasing

EMOP-IMOP optimisation


Phase 2 Engine Characterisation

Work Scope

Remove engine and complete EMS from OE vehicle and mount on engine dynamometer Derive base engine mappings for the H4V application

Base Engine Mappings

Phase 3 Migration to


Open-source engine controller Simulink strategies Extensible generic engine control strategy Supported by industry standard development tools

Work Scope

Configuration of OpenECU I/O: e.g. ignition coils, fuel injectors, ETB, sensors etc. Develop interface loom First-cut calibration Strategy extensions Calibration refinement

OpenECU Installation

Bespoke Strategy Design

Torque request mode

Allows VCU to manage load contributions Achieved over CAN bus request

Speed request mode

Allows speed matching for clutch less transmission engagement Achieved over CAN bus request

Torque Request Mode

Torque request to be issued by the VCU over CAN bus to the OpenECU controller An estimation model was implemented capable of predicting the neutral load (i.e. no ancillary loads) brake flywheel torque of the engine to within 3Nm Torque to be limited to an arbitrary safe state using an EMS label calibration Torque request requires an electronic throttle body (ETB) Throttle plate motor current to be driven by a PWM output from the OpenECU

Torque Estimation Model

Torque Response Test

Dynamometer based set speed in torque/speed control Fully-warmed engine Demand torque requested over CAN Delivered torque measured on engine dynamometer Agreement within tolerance

Torque Response

Torque Limit Control

Strategy inhibits fuel enrichment at high loads

Optimal BSFC maintained Engine and catalyst durability

Torque limit control feature given authority to limit load to protect engine and catalyst Engine effectively de-rated, deficit made-up by EV mode

Speed Request Mode

VCU target engine speed request

Speed matching for clutch less gear change Speed elevation for alternator power

Plot speed matching

BSFC Optimisation

Phase 4 Integration with H4V Vehicle

Torque Request In -Vehicle In-Vehicle

Performance targets successfully met Toolchain and expertise now readily deployable on other applications