Walker, P., Roser, H., Zhang, N., and Fang, Y., "Comparison of Powertrain System Configurations for Electric Passenger Vehicles," SAE Technical Paper 2015-01-0052, 2015, doi:10.4271/2015-01-0052.
Electric vehicles (EV) are considered a practical alternative to conventional and hybrid electric passenger vehicles, with higher overall powertrain efficiencies by omitting the internal combustion engine. As a consequence of lower energy density in the battery energy storage as compared to fossil fuels powered vehicles, EVs have limited driving range, leading to a range phobia and limited consumer acceptance. Particularly for larger luxury EVs, electric motors with a single reduction gear typically do not achieve the diverse range of function needs that are present in multi-speed conventional vehicles, most notably acceleration performance and top speed requirements. Subsequently, multi-speed EV powertrains have been suggested for these applications. Through the utilization of multiple gear ratios a more diverse range of functional needs can be realized without increasing the practical size of the electric motor. The major limitation of multi-speed EV powertrains is that the increased transmission complexity introduces additional losses to the vehicle. Through a number of simulations this paper studies the integration of multispeed transmission with EV platforms. Particularly, it investigates the performance improvements of both B and E class vehicle platforms realized through utilization of two and three speed transmissions. Also the potential application of hybrid energy storage systems (i.e. batteries combined with super-capacitors) is studied. Results demonstrate that there can be significant benefits attained for both small and large passenger vehicles through the application of multi-speed transmissions. However, optimization of these ratios must be considered in the analysis.