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Annual Reviews in Control 33 (2009) 1–10

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Automobiles of the future and the role of automatic control in those systems
Lino Guzzella *
ETH – The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich, Switzerland


Article history: The level of individual mobility of any society is intimately related to its affluence. Obviously, well-
Received 2 November 2008 developed public and private transportation systems offer many benefits, but cause relevant problems as
Accepted 8 January 2009 well. This article focuses on automobiles and on two closely related problems, i.e., the emission of carbon
Available online 15 April 2009
dioxide and the consumption of primary energy resources. A comprehensive description of the current
situation is given and some of the most important options available for future improvements are
Keywords: described, highlighting the role that automatic control systems can play in this development.
Automotive control systems
ß 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Fuel economy
Pollutant emission control

1. Introduction greenhouse effects, and depletion of non-renewable primary

energy resources.
A modern society without a well-developed individual mobility
system is simply not conceivable. In parallel with the economic 2. A glimpse of the past
development, an enormous growth of the number of cars has taken
place in many countries. As Fig. 1 shows, a similar trend can be Some of these problems can be solved, at least partially, by a
observed in all regions of the world: the wealthier a society is, the combination of engineering efforts and regulatory measures.
larger the number of automobiles operated in that region becomes Improving the air quality is the best example for that. ‘‘Zero-
and that correlation saturates only at about a level of 0.5 cars per emission’’ vehicles can be realized today, based on both electric
person. motors (EM) and internal-combustion engines (ICE). To illustrate
This observation forms the basis for a rather alarming the role that automatic control systems can play in this context, the
projection: purification of exhaust gases of spark-ignited engines using three-
way catalytic converters is discussed briefly below.
 Most of the approximately 800 million cars operated worldwide Internal combustion engines utilize the following strongly
today are located in OECD countries, which have a population of exothermal hypothetical global reaction1 to produce mechanical
approximately 1.5 billion inhabitants. work
 Countries such as Brazil, Russia, India, and China, and many
Ca Hb þ O2 þ N2 ! CO2 þ H2 O þ N2 (1)
others have been experiencing and probably will continue to
have economic growth rates that will bring these nations in the where the fictitious hydrocarbon Ca Hb stands in for gasoline fuel
next one or two decades close to the same economic levels at that in reality consists of many species. The reaction products
which the OECD countries are today. water and carbon dioxide are non-toxic substances, and molecular
 Extrapolating the saturation level of 0.5 cars per person to these nitrogen is inert at ambient conditions. Unfortunately, real
countries, which are the home to roughly 3 billion people, shows combustion processes follow a more complex global reaction,
that the number of automobiles operated worldwide will namely
increase substantially in the next years.
Ca Hb þ O2 þ N2 ! CO2 þ H2 O þ N2 þ Ca Hb þ CO þ NOx (2)
It is clear that such a development can cause dramatic economic where hydrocarbons Ca Hb and carbon monoxide CO are product
and ecologic problems that have the potential to destabilize global species that missed complete oxidation, and NOx (mostly NO but
equilibria. Keywords that come to mind are of course bad air- some NO2 as well) are product species that experienced an
quality, prohibitive land use, noise pollution, traffic fatalities,

Of course the actual reaction scheme is much more complex. Moreover, in
* Tel.: +41 44 632 5448;fax: +41 44 632 1139. Eqs. (1) and (2) the stoichiometric coefficients have been omitted to simplify the
E-mail address: argument.

1367-5788/$ – see front matter ß 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
2 L. Guzzella / Annual Reviews in Control 33 (2009) 1–10

Fig. 2. Conversion efficiency (100% full conversion of harmful species to innocuous

Fig. 1. Correlation between annual GDP and car densities for selected countries. ones) of TWC as a function of AFR (TWC temperature above light-off threshold).
Source of data: IEA 2005.

unwanted oxidation. All of these species are toxic and create

problems such as acid rain and ground-level ozone pollution.
Three-way catalytic converters (TWC) ‘‘complete the job,’’ i.e.,
they transform the unwanted species in the exhaust gases to the
innocuous species on the right side of reaction (1) by reducing NOx
to N2 and using the oxygen obtained in this reaction step to oxidize
Ha Cb and CO. The efficiency of this conversion strongly depends on
the air/fuel ratio (AFR), which is defined as

mair 1
l¼   (3)
mfuel s

where m... are mass flows and s  14:7 is the stoichiometric mass
ratio. As Fig. 2 shows, in ‘‘rich’’ conditions (l < 1, too little oxygen
available), TWC are not able to completely oxidize all of the Ha Cb
and CO, but they can reduce NOx very efficiently because the only
reaction yielding the much-needed oxygen is 2NOx ! N2 þ 2Ox . In
‘‘lean’’ conditions (l > 1, too much oxygen available), the oxidation
of Ha Cb and CO remains at very high levels, but the reduction of Fig. 3. AFR control system. HFM ¼ hot  film anemometer (air mass flow
measurement), PFI ¼ port fuel injectors, ECU ¼ electronic control unit.
NOx breaks down almost completely. Obviously, the ‘‘free’’ oxygen
in the exhaust gases is preferred by the TWC to oxidize Ha Cb and
CO because the extra energy needed to activate the reaction approaches. Next-generation controllers will include the capability
2NOx ! N2 þ 2Ox is not required in this case (‘‘mother nature is to adapt to changing plant and sensor characteristics, while
lazy . . .’’). monitoring and on-board diagnosis features are already standard
Obviously, TWC can reduce simultaneously all three harmful today.
species only if the AFR is slightly below its stoichiometric value, i.e., At very low costs, this technology proved to be very efficient
0:99 < l < 1:00. It is impossible for the air/fuel mixture burned in and reliable, such that controlled TWC are now included in almost
the engine of a passenger car to satisfy this inequality in all driving all new gasoline engine systems. As a consequence, air quality
conditions. Harsh transients, such as fast accelerations and fuel cut has improved substantially in many cities all over the world. Figs. 4
off in decelerations, which are unavoidable in automotive and 5 illustrate that progress for the city of Zurich. This is a success
applications, produce large deviations into the rich and lean story in which control systems play a major role, a fact which the
operating zones. Fortunately, TWC can store small amounts of control engineering community should use, together with similar
oxygen (1–2 g) and can thus cope with AFR deviations as long as examples, to explain to a broader audience why our discipline is
the limits of the oxygen storage capacity are not reached. so relevant to society, the environment, and the economy.
To avoid this situation, sophisticated feedforward and feedback
control loops are necessary, as illustrated in Fig. 3. Fortunately, 3. Comprehensive analysis of the present situation
reliable sensors, such as solid-state air mass flow and pressure
sensors or Nernstian cells, actuators such as position-controlled The truly fundamental problems associated with individual
throttle valves or solenoid fuel injectors, and control hardware and mobility are the consumption of non renewable (fossil) hydro-
software are available. The feedforward part has to be very fast carbon resources and the concomitant emission of green-house
(typical time constants of the transfer functions that must be gases, mainly CO2 . Severe economic and social problems are to be
inverted are in the order of 0.1 s) and must avoid very large AFR expected if the global ‘‘hunger for energy’’ cannot be satisfied.
deviations during transients. The feedback part has to be very Indeed, projections by the IEA that the global primary energy
precise, but the cross-over frequencies of the loop can be in the consumption will rise by approximately 100% over the next 50
order of 1 rad/s. Classical feedback AFR controllers were years are to be taken very seriously. It is clear that individual
essentially binary switching controllers, while modern versions mobility is not the only driving force of that growth. However, its
are based on models and are designed using H1 and/or IMC share is substantial (on a global scale approximately 20%) and, for
L. Guzzella / Annual Reviews in Control 33 (2009) 1–10 3

Fig. 4. Air pollution levels (NOx ) in the city of Zurich, 1995. Source: Umwelt- und
Gesundheitsschutz Zürich.

reasons that will become clear below, individual mobility will be

one of the most difficult sectors to wean from oil (airplanes will use
the last drop of oil, automobiles the second last . . .).
The focus of this article is, therefore, on clarifying the most Fig. 6. Most relevant energy conversion steps relevant during the operation of an
important physical and engineering factors that determine the fuel automobile.
consumption of vehicles. Once these effects are explained, the
steps needed to design substantially more fuel-efficient cars our best oil wells,’’ this approach has the advantage of alleviating
become clearer. Following the slogan that ‘‘fuel efficient cars are the energy supply problems at a relatively low economic and
societal cost. An analysis of all aspects that affect the total energy
consumption of an automobile is quite complex. The ‘‘gray’’ or
embodied energy and the energy needed to recycle the vehicle
generally represent less than 20% of the total energy consumed.
Therefore, this article focuses on the energy conversion and
consumption steps illustrated in Fig. 6, which are relevant during
the vehicle’s operation. The corresponding analysis from the
bottom to the top is shown in the subsequent sections.

3.1. Driving profiles and driving losses

Obviously, any fuel consumption figures must be normalized by

the distance travelled when measuring the energy consumption.
However, this is not sufficient. To obtain ‘‘fair’’ indicators, the
velocity and elevation profiles must be known as well. Many
regulatory and proprietary test cycles exist. In this article, the
European test cycle MVEG-95 is used, which is illustrated in Fig. 7
(no elevation changes are considered in the MVEG-95). This cycle
was originally conceived to test the pollutant emissions of a car,
but it is now also used in Europe to measure its fuel consumption. It
is well known that the MVEG-95 does not represent well the
average driving style. However, as long as all manufacturers use
that cycle and no ‘‘cycle beating’’ is attempted, a comparison based
on the MVEG-95 yields meaningful information on the relative fuel
consumption of different vehicles.
The observation that the fuel consumption is indeed strongly
correlated to the driving profile is the starting point for many
Fig. 5. Air pollution levels (NOx ) in the city of Zurich, 2002. Source: Umwelt- und approaches in which automatic control systems play an important
Gesundheitsschutz Zürich. role. Route planning and congestion avoidance are perhaps the
4 L. Guzzella / Annual Reviews in Control 33 (2009) 1–10

Fig. 7. European test cycle MVEG-95 (motor vehicle expert group); total cycle
length 11.4 km, average speed 35 km/h.

most obvious approaches, but many more ideas have been

proposed, which are based on additional inputs from on-board
radar or satellite navigation systems (Hellström, Fröberg, &
Nielsen, 2006).
The mechanical energy needed to drive any test cycle is used to Fig. 8. Recuperation of mechanical energy as a function of the mass and the
overcome the following three resistance forces: efficiency of the recuperation device. Valid for the MVEG-95 cycle and a full-size
vehicle as defined in Table 1.
 the aerodynamic friction, characterized by the vehicle’s frontal
area A f and the aerodynamic drag coefficient cd ; Table 1
Comparison of mechanical energy consumption, MVEG-95 test cycle.
 the rolling friction, characterized by the vehicle’s mass m and the
tire rolling friction coefficient cr ; and Vehicle class SUV Full size Compact Eco
 the acceleration resistance, characterized by the vehicle’s
m (kg) 2500 1500 1200 800
mass m. A f  cd (m2) 1.22 0.8 0.66 0.42
cr () 0.015 0.013 0.012 0.008
The energy utilized to accelerate the vehicle can be partially E (MJ/100 km) 80 48 37 22
recovered using regenerative braking systems (more on that later).
In standard vehicles with friction brakes, this energy is ‘‘lost,’’ i.e.,
converted to useless thermal energy during braking. The first important consequence of the analysis presented in
For most test cycles, it is possible to derive simple, yet this section is obvious: if substantial reductions (factors two to
informative approximations for the mechanical energy needed to four) in fuel consumption are to be achieved, substantially
drive a certain distance. For the MVEG-95, this approximation has smaller and lighter vehicles must replace the standard vehicles of
the form (Guzzella & Sciarretta, 2007) today. Of course this has several drawbacks. The most important
is the reduced safety levels of such lightweight vehicles.
E  A f  cd  19 þ m  cr  0:84 þ m  0:011 ðMJ=100 kmÞ (4)
Buzeman, Viano, and Lovsund (1998) estimated that the risk
Table 1 shows a comparison of the mechanical energy (4) needed of injury of passengers is almost proportional to the vehicle’s
to drive 100 km of the MVEG-95 cycle for four different vehicle mass. Wenzel and Ross (2006) found a correlation of 0.15% injury
classes. The result is obvious, but nevertheless the pivot point for increase per kg of mass reduction for standard vehicle designs.
all future attempts to save fuel: small and lightweight vehicles are The same authors refined their analysis in a later publication
a must if substantial savings in fuel consumptions are to be (Wenzel & Ross, 2008) showing that other factors have an
achieved. influence as well such that the correlation between mass and
The vehicle’s mass is the most important parameter when fuel safety is somewhat reduced. Nevertheless, it is clear that
economy is the main concern. In fact, the sensitivity of the energy lightweight vehicles have a reduced passive safety level. Such
consumption to this parameter is twice as large as to the other two a development cannot be accepted in future automobiles. On the
loss effects contrary, faced with the grim numbers of today’s road fatalities,
substantial progress is very much needed in this area. A possible
dE=E dE=E dE=E approach to designing vehicles that are both lightweight and safe
 0:74;  0:32;  0:35 (5)
dm=m dðA f  cd Þ=A f  cd dcr =cr is briefly introduced in Section 4.3.
(numerical values valid for the parameters of a ‘‘full size’’ car as
shown in Table 1). 3.2. Internal combustion engines
Of course, adding a recuperation device can partially improve
that situation. However, such a device will increase the vehicle’s Following the energy conversion chain illustrated in Fig. 6, the
mass by mrec , and its efficiency hrec will be substantially below next step is to analyze the conversion of the energy carried on
1.2Fig. 8 shows the ratio between the mechanical energies required board (‘‘fuel’’) into the mechanical energy needed to drive the test
to drive the MVEG-95 cycle with (Eðhrec ; mrec Þ) and without (Eno rec ) cycle. The energy content (more precisely, the lower heating
recuperation device as a function of the additional mass mrec (100 value) of Diesel fuel is approximately 42 MJ/kg. Accordingly, a
kg is a realistic value) and the recuperation efficiency hrec (0.6 is a ‘‘full-size’’ vehicle as defined in Table 1 should require 1.2 l of
realistic value). Because of these two factors, the energy saving Diesel fuel only to drive 100 km (almost 200 mpg). Of course, such
potential is approximately 10% only, i.e., substantially less than the a mileage is impossible since it could be achieved only with an
maximum value of approximately 25% expected for the unrealistic engine with 100% efficiency. Modern Diesel ‘‘full-size’’ cars
case mrec ¼ 0 and hrec ¼ 1. consume approximately 6 l to drive 100 km of the MVEG-95
cycle. Accordingly, the true cycle-averaged efficiency of Diesel
Notice that the recuperation device transfers the vehicle’s kinetic energy to
engines is only approximately 20% (for gasoline engines it is only
some intermediate storage and then back to the vehicle, i.e., the total efficiency hrec 17%). Obviously, these are serious losses, and any improvements
is the result of two energy conversions with concomitant losses. in engine efficiency would be very welcome. In this section the
L. Guzzella / Annual Reviews in Control 33 (2009) 1–10 5

etc. consume some of the useful energy produced by the

thermodynamic processes. In fact, even when the engine runs at
zero torque, these losses require a substantial amount of fuel just
to keep the engine idling. Consequently, when only a small amount
of torque is required, the ratio between mechanical energy
produced and fuel energy consumed, i.e., the total efficiency, is
rather small. Only when the engine runs at full torque does the
total efficiency e approach the internal efficiency ei and, thus, can it
reach its maximum value.
An obvious approach to improving the part-load efficiency of
any engine is to choose a smaller engine size, i.e., to reduce its
swept volume. If that smaller engine is used to propel the same
vehicle, it must be operated at higher torques and, hence, at better
efficiencies. Compared against the original engine, that smaller
engine will obviously produce a reduced maximum power.
Nevertheless, the vehicle will still be able to reach the top speed
limits of most regions of the world. The only difference will be the
Fig. 9. Engine efficiencies as a function of engine speed and torque for a modern
gasoline engine. acceleration performance, which today is the only critical driving-
performance parameter. The following approximation yields a
realistic estimation of the time interval t 0 ! 100 needed to accelerate
current engine designs are analyzed and their limitations are a vehicle of mass m with an engine of maximum power P max from 0
described. Based on these observations, possible improvements to 100 km/h (0–60 mph)
are discussed in Section 4.1.
770  m
Fig. 9 shows the efficiency map of a typical modern gasoline t 0 ! 100  (6)
P max
engine. The independent variables are the engine speed n and the
engine torque T. The contour curves indicate all operating points at According to this approximation, a ‘‘full size’’ vehicle, as defined in
which the engine operates with a constant efficiency. The engine Table 1, requires a maximum engine power of approximately
attains its best efficiency at medium speed and at very high 115 kW to achieve a value of t 0 ! 100 of 10 s. To drive the European
torques. Values between 0.37 for gasoline and 0.41 for Diesel MVEG-95 test cycle, however, an average power of 7 kW is
engines are realistic. The grey area shown in Fig. 9 indicates the sufficient. Even the peak power requirement in that cycle is only
range of operating points in which the engine runs most of the 37 kW, which is in line with the fact that in most driving conditions
time. Unfortunately, in this operating area the efficiencies are the driver never needs to command the full engine power. Clearly,
substantially lower. Not surprisingly, and as mentioned above, the an engine that has been designed to deliver 115 kW of power will
cycle-averaged efficiency of modern Diesel engines is only around perform rather poorly when operated at only 6% of that value.
0.2 and that of gasoline engines only around 0.17. As indicated in There are several engineering ideas for alleviating this problem,
Fig. 9, the efficiency increases with increasing torque, while the some of which will be discussed below. However, if substantial
speed has a much smaller influence. improvements in fuel economy are targeted at very low cost, then a
It is not difficult to understand the main reason for this strong simple approach is to reduce engine size and to accept the resulting
dependency of the engine efficiency on torque. An engine converts reduced acceleration performance. Of course, here marketing and
chemical into mechanical energy, a process whose characteristics other ‘‘soft factors’’ come into play, showing that engineering and
are schematically illustrated in Fig. 10. This conversion process has human psychology are often intimately intertwined.
an internal efficiency ei , which is determined by the laws of
thermodynamics. The total efficiency e is smaller because 4. Some remarks on future vehicle systems
additional losses, such as engine friction, gas-exchange work,
In this section some possible future developments are
mentioned, without any claim of completeness. Section 4.1 lists
improvements of the propulsion systems that are expected to
materialize in the next ten years. Section 4.2 looks into more
advanced options, whose economic and ecologic impact is not yet
fully understood. Section 4.3 outlines a rather radically new option
that will take more time to become a reality, if it ever does at all.

4.1. Future Engine Systems

4.1.1. Clean Diesel Engines

Compared to standard gasoline engines, passenger car Diesel
engines have an inherently better fuel economy (peak efficiency of
slightly more than 40%, cycle averaged efficiency of slightly more
than 20%). Unfortunately, their tail-pipe pollutant emissions,
especially particulate matter (PM) and nitrogen monoxide and
dioxide (NOx), are substantially higher than those of modern
gasoline engines. Since Diesel engines are operated almost always
in lean conditions, three-way catalytic converters cannot be used.
Fig. 11 shows the typical trade-off curve between the PM and the
Fig. 10. Willans model for the energy conversion efficiencies; for more details see NOx emissions. The limits imposed by legislation are also shown in
(Guzzella & Onder, 2004). that figure (the absolute values have been constantly reduced over
6 L. Guzzella / Annual Reviews in Control 33 (2009) 1–10

Fig. 11. Participate matter (PM) and nitrogen monoxide and dioxide (NOx) limits of
Diesel engines. Standard (asterisk) and emission-feedback control (circle) design
set points.

Fig. 13. Illustration of the engine down-sizing and supercharging concept.

the last years). So far, these limits have been complied with by
improving the combustion process. Common-rail (‘‘electronic’’)
injection systems operating at injection pressures of up to 2000 bar 4.1.2. Advanced gasoline engines
have been instrumental for that progress. Several approaches have been proposed for improving the fuel
To meet the expected emission limits (EURO VI in Europe, economy of standard gasoline engines. Replacing mechanical
similar in the USA) additional exhaust gas purification systems will camshafts and using fully flexible electro-hydraulic or electro-
be required. Their key components are PM filters and systems that mechanic valves to reduce throttling losses (Hoffmann &
are able to reduce NOx in lean conditions. PM filters are state of the Stefanopoulou, 2003), switching from spark-ignited to compres-
art and will be a part of every modern Diesel engine soon. Lean de- sion-ignited combustion systems (Shaver et al., 2005), or varying
NOx systems have not yet reached the same maturity level. Lean the compression ratio during the operation of the engine (Nilsson,
NOx traps and selective catalytic reactors (SCR) that require Eriksson, & Gunnarsson, 2008) are three examples.
ammonia as an additional reducing agent are the two most likely Probably the most promising approach is to reduce the
approaches to be used in the future. Fig. 12 shows the structure of number of cylinders, and thus the swept volume, such that
such an advanced exhaust gas purification system. Also illustrated friction losses are minimized and average engine loads are
in that figure is the key idea of measuring the pollutant emission in increased. As shown in Fig. 13, with this approach the same
the exhaust gases and using this information in a feedback control torque/speed point can be run at a substantially better efficiency
loop to better control the engine (Schilling, Alfieri, Amstutz, & (from 0:2 ! 0:25, i.e., an improvement of 25%). Unfortunately,
Guzzella, 2007). In fact, with this approach the engine can be run in for naturally aspirated engines the rated power scales (almost)
the point indicated by a circle in Fig. 11 at higher combustion linearly with the swept volume. Therefore, smaller engines will
temperature and, thus, at higher efficiency and lower PM emission not satisfy customer demands on drivability, in particular
levels, without violating the NOx limitations. acceleration times, as Eq. (6) illustrates. One approach to
Future Diesel engines will reach the same very low pollutant recover the lost power is to supercharge the engine with a
emission limits that gasoline engines reach today. This develop- turbocharger or other devices (Guzzella, Wenger, & Martin,
ment will slightly reduce their fuel-economy benefits and, more 2000). Such systems are often referred to as ‘‘downsized and
importantly, further increase the system costs. It is, therefore, to be supercharged’’ (DSC) engines.
expected that the market share of Diesel engines in passenger cars The main problem associated with gasoline DSC engines is their
will not continue to grow at the same rate as it did over the last very sluggish torque dynamics, i.e., the drivability can be
years. For heavy-duty and light-duty commercial vehicles, how- substantially impaired by the infamous ‘‘turbo lag.’’ To reduce
ever, Diesel engines will remain the dominant prime mover for these lags, engine manufacturers employ smaller turbines or dual-
many years to come. supercharger systems (a mechanical compressor and a turbochar-

Fig. 12. PM filter and SCR system. The pollutant emission sensors are used to close an emission-control feedback loop.
L. Guzzella / Annual Reviews in Control 33 (2009) 1–10 7

management systems are abundant in HEV. One key idea is to use

all the information available about the future driving profile to
optimize the utilization of the available energy. With the wide-
spread use of GPS-based navigation systems and maps that include
topological and traffic information, it is possible to formulate easily
solvable optimization problems. The starting point is always the
drive cycle defined by the vehicle velocity vðtÞ and the elevation
profile hðtÞ (the independent variable t 2 1 . . . N is a discrete scalar).
Once this information is available, the power needed to drive that
cycle can be approximated as follows
vðtÞ  vðt  1Þ hðtÞ  hðt  1Þ
Pdem ðtÞ  m  þ k0 þ k1 
d d
vðtÞ þ vðt  1Þ 2
þ k2   vðtÞ (7)

where m is the vehicle’s mass, d the time interval used for sampling
the speed signal, and ki the coefficients needed to describe the
resistance forces caused by rolling friction, uphill driving, and
aerodynamic friction.
For the case of a parallel HEV, the mechanical power P dem ðtÞ
required to drive a specific cycle is the sum of the power provided
by the combustion engine P e ðtÞ and the power provided by the
Fig. 14. Illustration of the pneumatic-hybrid concept.
electric motor Pm ðtÞ. The control signal is the power-split factor
ger, or two turbochargers). Unfortunately, both approaches reduce Pe ðtÞ ¼ uðtÞ  Pdem ðtÞ; P m ðtÞ ¼ ð1  uðtÞÞ  P dem ðtÞ (8)
the fuel economy benefits and add substantial cost.
An alternative approach has been proposed recently that that has to be determined such that the fuel consumed is
completely eliminates turbo lags by adding one fully controllable minimized without violating the constraints imposed by the
valve to the cylinder head and connecting this valve with an air limited battery size. The state of charge (SoC) of that battery is the
tank. A schematic illustration of such an engine system is shown in only state variable (often modeled using a simple current
Fig. 14. During the acceleration phases, the engine is boosted by the integrator). To be more precise, for the optimization the
air stored in the tank until the turbocharger reaches its optimal Langrangian function
operating speeds. This concept also permits the recuperation of LðuðtÞÞ ¼ P e ðuðtÞÞ þ sðtÞ  Pm ðuðtÞÞ (9)
braking energy (this is the main mechanism to charge the air tank),
a very fast engine start/stop and the option for driving short is used where sðtÞ is the equivalence factor. This equivalence
distances at low speed purely in pneumatic mode. The expectation factor represents the conversion losses one has to accept when
for this system is to achieve most of the benefits offered by hybrid- transforming fuel into electric energy. Of course this variable
electric vehicles at a fraction of the cost of those powertrains. depends on the vehicle’s trajectory and the battery’s state of
charge. In some situations it can be assumed to be constant
4.1.3. Hybrid-electric vehicles (Paganelli et al., 2000). In this case it is a straightforward
Hybrid-electric vehicles (HEV) can reduce the fuel consumption procedure to choose the power split factor such that in each
of gasoline engines, but only at substantially increased system time instant the Lagrangian LðuÞ is minimized. This approach is
costs. The key ideas for improving the fuel economy are: known as the equivalent consumption minimization strategy
(ECMS). As illustrated in Fig. 15, when the equivalence factor is
 Engine shut-down at low loads using the electric motor for low- not constant, it has to be estimated based on any information
speed driving and auxiliaries; available.
 Regenerative braking that recuperates part of the vehicle’s If the complete future driving profile is known at the outset, a
kinetic energy; closed-form optimization is possible. This problem can be solved
 Shifting of the operating points of the engine by duty cycling with using Bellman’s optimality principle. Since the numerical effort of
the electric part; and such dynamic programs scales only linearly with the problem
 Engine downsizing. duration N, rather long drive cycles can be handled without any
problems. The solutions obtained in this way are very useful to
Particularly the last point helps to improve the fuel economy. benchmark and to further improve any realizable (‘‘causal’’)
Instead of a turbocharger, the torque recovery (referred to by ‘‘SC’’ control strategies proposed so far. The survey paper (Sciarretta &
in Fig. 13) is accomplished using the electric motor. Since Guzzella, 2007) contains more detailed information.
acceleration boosts are needed only for brief periods, HEV do
not need to carry any large battery packs. Particularly for driving at
low speeds most of the time and in stop-and-go traffic conditions,
HEV offer an interesting option to save fuel. It is, therefore, to be
expected that the market share of HEV will substantially increase
in affluent parts of the world.
HEV offer many interesting opportunities for the control
systems community. Classical problems, such as the design of
low-level control systems for electrical machines, and novel
challenges, such as the design of model-predictive optimal energy Fig. 15. Block diagram of an adaptive ECMS algorithm.
8 L. Guzzella / Annual Reviews in Control 33 (2009) 1–10

Fig. 17. Net energy density levels for hydrocarbon fuels (H2 ¼ hydrogen) and
batteries (Ni=MH ¼ nickel metal hydrate, Pb ¼ lead acid).

engine acts as a (powerful) ‘‘range extender,’’ such that all

customer requirements are met.
Fig. 16. Optimal equivalence factor (normalized) for the CADC (common arthemis
Another option are hydrogen-based fuel cell electric vehicles
driving cycle) driving cycle; target SoC ¼ 0:6.
(FCEV). As Fig. 17 shows, the energy density level of high-pressure
(more than 400 bar) hydrogen tanks is similar to the one of liquid
As an example, Fig. 16 shows the result of such an optimization hydrocarbons, such that for some years this approach has been
for a typical city driving cycle. At the start, the equivalence factor s proposed as the best alternative to ICE. Unfortunately, high system
is relatively small. This reflects the fact that deviations from the costs, reliability issues, and the open problems related to the
target SoC of 0.6 are more acceptable because sufficient time is production of the hydrogen fuel have so far prevented a break-
available to charge or discharge the battery to that level. When through of that technology.
approaching the final time, the equivalence factor becomes larger Fig. 18 shows a simplified analysis that corroborates the last
because the target SoC can only be reached by more aggressive assertion, as long as hydrogen is generated using the ‘‘detour’’ of
battery charging or discharging strategies. electricity involving electrolysis of water.4 Starting at the available
primary energy sources (coal, natural gas, hydro and nuclear power
4.2. Future propulsion systems plants, etc.), all relevant energy conversion steps are shown in that
figure. The number below the primary energy source indicates the
Looking further into the future, battery electric vehicles (BEV) CO2 factor, i.e., the emission of CO2 when compared to the standard
have often been proposed as an interesting option. So far, however, defined by petroleum oil (76 g/MJ).
numerous attempts to launch BEV have not yet produced any The results for all three classes of primary energy sources are
commercial success. The first reason for that failure is the very low shown at the bottom lines of Fig. 18:
energy density of the batteries available today. Fig. 17 shows the
net 3 energy density levels of three hydrocarbon fuels and three  the amount of primary energy that can be converted to
battery types. Clearly, even the energy density of the best battery mechanical energy at the wheel varies between 9% (for coal
technology available today is orders of magnitude smaller than and FCEV) and 68% (for wind, etc. and BEV); and
that of Diesel fuel. This situation will improve, but no radical  to drive 1 km in the European test cycle, a full-size vehicle (as
changes can be expected in the next decade. defined in Table 1) emits between 570 g (coal and FCEV) and 0 g
The second reason for the limited success of BEV is the high cost of CO2 (wind, etc. and BEV).
of high-performance batteries (precise data are very difficult to
obtain, a reasonable figure valid at the time of press of this article is A modern Diesel engine utilizes 18% of the primary energy
300 Euros per kWh for bulk orders). The third main problem of stored in the petroleum oil it burns, and it emits, when used to
batteries is their relatively long recharging time. If batteries are to drive a full-size vehicle, 190 g of CO2 per km distance driven. The
reach long life times and high recharging efficiencies, the specific main conclusion that one can draw from this (admittedly very
recharging powers must remain so small that several hours of simplified analysis) is that seemingly attractive approaches can
recharging time are required. Clearly, this compares poorly to produce rather disappointing results when the entire energy
liquid hydrocarbon fuels, where ‘‘recharging’’ powers of several conversion chain is taken into account.
MW are standard at any gas pump. Emergency charging is possible
for some battery types (‘‘fast’’ recharge of say 20–40% capacity). 4.3. Future vehicle systems
However, in this case a high-power electric outlet is required,
which is usually not available at family homes, and the life time of The analysis presented in Section 3.1 clarified that only a
batteries is also reduced by such charging procedures. combination of improvements in the powertrain with substantial
For these reasons it is expected that in the next decades ‘‘plug- changes in the vehicle design can reduce the fuel consumption by a
in’’ HEV will play an important role. Compared to standard HEV, factor of three to four. Of course, one can argue whether this is
these vehicles have larger battery packs and can be recharged necessary, but faced with dwindling primary fossil energy
from the grid. Plug-in HEV are designed to be able to operate as resources and rapidly increasing demand for energy supply, a
BEV having a range of approximately 20–40 km, such that the radical change might prove to be necessary within the next 20 to
majority of all trips can be made without utilizing any gasoline or 30 years.
Diesel fuel. If longer trips become necessary, the combustion
Unfortunately, this is the only convenient way of producing hydrogen in
The net energy density is defined as the amount of mechanical energy available decentralized units. If hydrogen is produced in large quantities using steam
at the wheels divided by the energy carrier mass. Average losses from the energy reforming of natural gas, or, even better, using CO2 -neutral energy resources then
carrier to the wheels are considered in that approach. the situation changes.
L. Guzzella / Annual Reviews in Control 33 (2009) 1–10 9

Fig. 18. ‘‘Well-to-wheel’’ energy conversion options for FCEV (left) and BEV (right), PV ¼ photo voltaic, NPP ¼ nuclear power plant, CC PP ¼ combined cycle power plant. See
text for more details.

Table 2 shows a projection of the key parameters of Table 2

Key vehicle parameters today and projections ten and 30 years in the future, fuel
substantially more fuel-efficient cars. Starting from actual figures,
consumption in the MVEG-95 test cycle.
a substantial reduction can be expected in the next ten years using
essentially incremental improvements. If much lower fuel con- Model year 2008 2018 2038
sumption figures are required, a radical change in vehicle design is m (kg) 1500 1300 800
necessary, resulting in much lighter and also smaller vehicles. A f  cd (m2) 0.8 0.7 0.4
Clearly, one key problem of such a 2038 model year vehicle is cr () 0.013 0.012 0.01
safety. It can be expected that progress in material science yields hc () 0.18 0.22 0.30
c (l/100 km) 8.0 5.6 2.4
tougher, lighter, and cheaper materials that can be used to make
lightweight vehicles safer. However, it is highly improbable that
such ambitious weight objectives can be achieved while simulta- accidents. As the sketch in Fig. 19 shows, the key idea is to
neously decreasing the numbers of road fatalities. combine passive (radar, video, etc.) sensors with communication
A radically different approach is to replace passive with active devices (car-to-car, people-to-car, etc.) and precise localization
safety systems, i.e., to build cars that simply cannot cause sytems (next-generaion GPS, roadside beacons, etc.) to generate a

Fig. 19. Visualization of a networked mobility system.

10 L. Guzzella / Annual Reviews in Control 33 (2009) 1–10

high-performance ad-hoc network that controls the traffic flow complement that effort: (1) additional – preferably CO2 -neutral –
such that only safe actions can be taken by all traffic participants. primary energy and fuel sources must be developed, and (2) the
Each driver can take any action, as long as that decision is not intensity of the motorized individual mobility must be reduced,
leading to a potentially dangerous situation. All of the vehicles are replacing it by other transportation forms (public transportation,
fully ‘‘drive-by-wire,’’ i.e., the drivers control the physical layers of low-speed and human-powered vehicles, etc.).
their vehicles only through an embedded system that receives
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additional environmental and societal problems. Science and
engineering can help alleviate these problems, and particularly
Lino Guzzella has been a full professor at ETH Zurich, Switzerland, since 1999. After
automatic control systems will be very important in that quest. receiving his mechanical engineering diploma in 1981 and his doctoral degree in 1986,
However, it is the firm belief of the author of this article that both from ETH, he has held several positions in industry and academia. With his
‘‘technology fixes’’ will go a long way, but they will not suffice to research group he focuses on novel approaches to control energy conversion systems,
particularly automotive propulsion systems.
resolve this problem completely. Two other developments must