Powertrain Selection for Fuel Economy and Acceleration Performance

April 13-14, 2020 Troy, Michigan, United States SAE International Classroom Seminar

Developing vehicles that achieve optimum fuel economy and acceleration performance is critical to the success of any automotive company, yet many practicing engineers have not received formal training on the broad range of factors which influence vehicle performance. This seminar provides this fundamental understanding through the development of mathematical models that describe the relevant physics and through the hands-on application of automotive test equipment. Attendees will also be introduced to software used to predict vehicle performance.

The course begins with a discussion of the road load forces that act on the automobile (aerodynamic, rolling resistance, and gravitational) followed by a review of pertinent engine characteristics. This background information is then used to show how appropriate gear ratios for a vehicle transmission are selected and to develop models for predicting acceleration performance and fuel economy. The models form the basis for the computer software used to predict vehicle performance. Participants will also use an in-vehicle accelerometer, GPS fifth-wheel, and an OBDII scanner to measure vehicle performance.


Learning Objectives

By attending this seminar, you will be able to:

  • Explain the basic operation of the components in an automotive powertrain
  • Calculate road loads on a motor vehicle
  • Select appropriate gear ratios for a given engine/chassis combination
  • Predict the effect of gear selection, body design, and weight on the fuel economy of a vehicle
  • Explain and utilize the mathematical models for predicting the acceleration of an automobile
  • Explain and utilize the mathematical models for predicting the fuel economy of an automobile
  • Use computer software for predicting vehicle fuel economy and performance

Who Should Attend

As this seminar is designed for automotive engineers involved in the design and development of automotive powertrains (with special value for entry-level engineers and others seeking to develop a fundamental understanding), attendees should have a degree in mechanical engineering or a related field, be able to apply Newton's second law of motion, and be familiar with spreadsheets and simple computer programming concepts.

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