Several hybrid-electric vehicle architectures have been commercialized to serve different categories of vehicles and driving conditions. Such architectures can be optimally controlled by switching among driving modes, namely, the power distribution schemes in their planetary gear (PG) transmissions, in order to operate the vehicle in the most efficient regions of engine and motor maps. This paper proposes a systematic way to identify the optimal architecture for a given vehicle drive cycle, rather than parametrically optimizing one or more pre-selected architectures. An automatic generator of feasible driving modes for a given number of PGs is developed. For a powertrain consisting of one engine, two motors and two PGs, this generator results in 1116 modes. A heuristic search is then proposed to find a near-optimal pair of modes for a given driving cycle and vehicle specification. In a study this process identifies a dual-mode architecture with an 8% improvement in fuel economy compared to a commercially available architecture over a standard drive cycle.

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