Motion control of electric vehicles and prospects of supercapacitors


  • Yoichi Hori

    Senior Member, Corresponding author
    1. Department of Advanced Energy, Graduate School of Frontier Sciences, The University of Tokyo, 5-1-5 Kashiwanoha, Kashiwa, Chiba 277-8561, Japan
    • Institute of Industrial Science, Information and Electronics Division, The University of Tokyo, 5-1-5 Kashiwanoha, Kashiwa, Chiba 277-8561, Japan
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Novel motion control techniques for electric vehicles (EVs) on the basis of the quick torque generation in these vehicles have been developed at the Hori Laboratory. Because EVs are powered by electric motors, they have three major advantages: (i) motor torque generation is quick and accurate, (ii) a motor can be attached to each wheel, and (iii) motor torque can be estimated precisely. These advantages enable us to (i) easily realize high-performance antilock braking systems and traction control systems with minor feedback control of each wheel, (ii) control chassis motion, for example, direct yaw control, and (iii) estimate road surface condition. We have developed test vehicles and confirmed the effectiveness of the proposed methods. Recently, we have manufactured small EVs that are powered only by supercapacitors. Supercapacitors have long operating life, large current density, and are environmental friendly. Furthermore, their energy level can be estimated from their terminal voltage. Because EVs powered by supercapacitors can run for more than 20 min by charging only for 30 s, recharging EVs will not be a major problem. In the future, EVs will be recharged via contactless power transfer. Copyright © 2009 Institute of Electrical Engineers of Japan. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.