INTERVIEW – A couple of months back, the Detroit-based ESG Automotive introduced the ESG Electric Energy Manager (E3M). E3M is an innovative software solution for electrical energy management that monitors, controls and improves the energy usage in a vehicle. The E3M core software can also improve range calculation and route optimization when combined with the navigation system. This will be a big step for the road suitability of electric vehicles because all the important vehicle and journey parameters are factored in. Due to the limited capacity of batteries, this is critical for electric vehicles.
Since spring 2008, ESG has been using the electric vehicle Hot-C to evaluate the E3M and a range of different technologies for possible future use in electric vehicles, such as solar panels for battery charging.
The E3 Manager is based on the AUTOSAR infrastructure, and is also compatible with the OEM’s own standard cores. As a purely software-based solution, the E3M can easily be re-calibrated to suit new vehicle models or variants. With the generic system add-on, the concept can be adapted to all types of drive technology independent of platform. Whether for a conventional engine, a hybrid or an electric vehicle, the Energy Manager controls and optimizes the electrical energy flow. “The Energy Manager is a great step forward for the efficient use of energy in vehicles – and not only for electric cars. This concept is now hitting the road with the Hot-C platform – a very promising start. Of course, we are also in the qualification phase for other development projects for electric and hybrid vehicles,” said Wolfgang Sczygiol, head of ESG’s global automotive business area
ESG Automotive Inc. is a 100 percent subsidiary of the German ESG Group and has worked with most of the world’s leading automobile manufacturers. The company’s expertise lies in the development, integration, validation and diagnostics of automotive electronic systems. The company also provides consultancy services ranging from technology to support on processes and methods. Some of the company’s clients are Alpine, Audi, BMW, Bosch, Chrysler, Daimler, Fisker, Jaguar, General Motors, Visteon and Volkswagen.
Automotive Industries spoke to Steve Polakowski, president of ESG Automotive Inc.
AI: Your company is an engineering service provider which is hardware independent and multisupplier user. How does this tie in with the fact that you invent your own software systems?
Our primary focus is to provide superior services and knowhow. In order to provide a value add we must engage in our own developments to stay at pace or ahead of emerging technologies. Being involved with so many different OE’s and suppliers, we have a good view of gaps and needs. When we engage in an internal development, we do this with an open framework objective. ESG will develop generic core software modules that can be tailored to our customers’ hardware and software platforms to meet their specific application strategies and maintain their market differentiation.
AI: Tell us a little about the ESG Electric Energy Manager E3M and the impact it will have on the (electric) future vehicle market.
The Energy Manager is an exciting internal development that was initiated based on our involvement in numerous alternative propulsion and specifically HEV and EV architecture projects. Range extension is the most critical performance factor for these vehicles. With a holistic vehicle and system perspective and our work in power management, we realized a considerable amount of waste through continuous energy consumption. By monitoring the system and prioritizing functions you can control the energy disbursement to sustain battery charge and optimize range. We developed proprietary algorithms and control schemes to do just that. Our analysis indicates that there can be a range extension of 10 to 15%.
AI: Do car makers request your help to develop hybrid and electric vehicles?
Yes, we started our automotive E/E systems work over 10 years ago in the field of certification and validation. By demonstrating competency and quality of work we have been asked to engage in larger and more advanced development projects. We are working with numerous traditional OEMs and system suppliers as well as an increasing number of niche manufacturers for HEV and EV developments. Our first involvement was converting an ICE vehicle electrical systems to EV. We are currently engaged in a PHEV program where we are responsible for the entire electrical architecture, including development, integration, validation and diagnostics.
AI: Do you think that energy management can help automotive industry (and especially German manufacturers) to cut CO² emissions and to comply with EU regulations?
Certainly, it can. ESG Energy management helps to reduce the energy consumption of the single ECUs by allocating only the amount of energy that is needed to the individual loads or consumers. Thus, consumers are ideally supplied with energy, and no energy is lost or wasted. The ESG Energy Manager can be integrated in all vehicle types: Electric, hybrid or conventional cars.
In hybrid vehicles, for instance, is it possible to downsize battery capacity as the ESG Energy Manager adjusts the operating point of electric consumers. Hence, two effects happen: weight can be reduced and less energy is used.
AI: What are some of the new technologies ESG Automotive is working on currently?
As stated earlier, we are involved with numerous automotive customers. But ESG is also a leading E/E services provider to the aerospace and defense industries. We established core developments that are based on trends and needs, and then attempt to transfer technologies across industries, and perform a “TeXchange” where appropriate. Some of the projects that we are currently working on in energy systems include the E3M energy manager, of course, and specialized work in photovoltaic system improvement . ESG’s Automotive business is leveraging its aerospace competency in the areas of human machine interface (HMI) and sensor fusion technologies. We also have active projects in vehicle connectivity.
AI: How important is innovation at ESG Automotive and how do you manage to implement systems to make sure innovation stays alive at your company?
Innovation is second only to the people that do the innovating. It stays alive because it is critical for us to maintain a market advantage and grow. Whether it is new technologies, tools, or processes, we must bring differentiable services to our customers to help them execute faster and more competitively.