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The 5th International Conference on Electrical Engineering and Informatics 2015

August 10-11, 2015, Bali, Indonesia

Simple Supercapacitor Charging Scheme in

Electrical Car Simulator by Using
Direct Current Machines
Adnan Rafi Al Tahtawi1, Arief Syaichu Rohman2
Laboratory of Control & Computer Systems, School of Electrical Engineering and Informatics,
Institut Teknologi Bandung, Bandung, Indonesia

Abstract—Supercapacitors are electrical components which energy more quickly. By using a supercapacitor, the received
have a higher capacity of storing energy compared to a normal electric energy during regenerative braking can be
capacitor. It also has a quick charging and discharging time in maximized. In addition, the consumption of battery power
comparison to other sources of electrical energy. Due to this can be reduced by 23.23% [2].
advantage, supercapacitors are often used as an additional
energy source in an electric car. During regenerative braking,
the supercapacitor can be charged and hence store electrical In this study, a simple scheme was designed for
energy more quickly. In this paper, a simple supercapacitor supercapacitor charging on an electric car which is then
charging scheme was designed during the regenerative braking implemented using an electric car simulator. A laboratory at
in an electric car. The designed charging scheme of University of Pennsylvania, mLAB has developed an electric
supercapacitor is then implemented and tested in electric car car simulator, known as the Protodrive, in a small scale by
simulator. The simulator was firstly built based on a previously using a DCM as the main component [2]-[6]. Referring to
published simulator known as Protodrive. The main the Protodrive, a simulator used in this study was built with
components of the simulator are two direct current motors some modifications. The simple supercapacitor charging
(DCMs) with a linked axis of rotation. The scheme is then tested
scheme is evaluated at three types of road profile scenarios
in the simulator by using three profiles of a designed road, i.e.
one hill, two hills and trapezoidal road’s contour. The test in the simulator.
result shows that the amount of supercapacitor charging
current is proportional to the amount of road profile’s slope II. SUPERCAPACITOR CHARGING SCHEME
A. Supercapacitor Module
Keywords—supercapacitor, charging scheme, electric car The supercapacitor used in this study was built in a
simulator, direct current motor (DCM)
module form (Fig. 1). The module consists of four cells of
100F/2.7V supercapacitor. The specifications of the
I. INTRODUCTION supercapacitor are presented below.
Electricity is known as one of the environmentally
friendly energies. Nowadays, batteries are often used as an TABLE I. SUPERCAPACITOR SPECIFICATIONS
electrical energy source for electric drives in electric cars. Specifications Values
The electric motors as main drives in electric cars may be
Maximum Internal
utilized as a source of energy through the process of 13 mȍ
Resistance (ESR) DC 11A
regenerative braking. This process is used for electric energy
charging of the batteries. However, the problem is that the Rated Current (25ºC) 21.4 A
charging of the batteries takes a long time while the Maximum Current (25ºC) > 58.7 A
regenerative braking may take place in a relatively short Maximum Leakage Current
1.7 mA
time. (12h, 25ºC)
Maximum Stored Energy 364.5 Joule (0.1013
There are some solutions available to overcome this (at 2,7V) Wh)
problem, one of which is by using a supercapacitor as an Specified Energy 4.5 Wh/kg
additional energy source. Electric double-layer capacitors, Specified Power (at
also known as supercapacitors, electrochemical double layer 6.23 kW/kg
matched load)
capacitors (EDLCs) or ultracapacitors, are electrochemical
Volume 17.1 ml
capacitors with an unusually high energy density compared
to common capacitors [1]. This component has a faster Weight 22.5 g
charging and discharging time so it is capable of storing Cycle Life (25ºC) 500.000 cycles

978-1-4673-7319-7/15/$31.00 ©2015 IEEE

To overcome the imbalance of voltage of the where
supercapacitor in series, the module was also equipped with I = charging current (A)
a balancing circuit. A passive balancing circuit was used due C = capacitance (F)
to its simplicity in terms of design and implementation. The dQ = load change (C)
balancer was formed by installing a parallel resistor in each dV = voltage change (V)
supercapacitor cell. In this way, the current resulted during dt = time change (second)
the imbalance will flow to the resistor. The resistor value
may be determined based on reference [7]. The flowchart of the charging scheme is as follows:



Fig. 1 Supercapacitor module

B. Simple Charging Scheme

The supercapacitor charging scheme occurs during the
regenerative braking process of electric car. During the
braking, the electric motors in the car will act as a generator.
The energy produced by this generator will then be used as
Fig. 3 Supercapacitor (SC) charging flowchart
the electric energy source to charge the supercapacitor during
the braking.
The above flowchart is part of the overall flowchart of the
simulator. Supercapacitor is defined ‘ready’ if (1) †ୱୡ Τ†– ൏
Ͳ and Vsc > 4V, or (2) †ୱୡ Τ†– ൐ Ͳ and Vsc > 6V.


The supercapacitor charging scheme was tested on an

electric car simulator. The main component of the simulator
was two DCMs which were directly connected each other by
their axis of rotation. The torque generated by DCM 1
simulates the torque produced by the wheels of the electric
Fig. 2 Simple Supercapacitor Charging Scheme car and the torque generated by DCM 2 simulates the torques
due to forces from surroundings which interacted with the
In this scheme, DCM functions as a generator which is an car. The block diagram of the simulator is as follows:
electric energy source. To be able to charge the
supercapacitor, a boost DC/DC converter was used to
increase the voltage of the generator. A single pole double
throw (SPDT) relay was then used as a switching
component. Another SPDT was used during the discharging
process, either from supercapacitor or battery appropriately
(Fig. 2).

Mathematically, the amount of charging current may be

calculated using the following equation:

† (1)


Since dQ = C.dV, then:

† (2)
Fig. 4 Block diagram of simulator

This configuration consists of five maiin components, i.e.
two units of DCM, battery, supercapaccitor module, and
microcontroller. Current sensors, speedd sensor, voltage heig
sensors, DC/DC converters, L298N H-bridge
H modules, (m)
power supply, and SPDT relays were also used as supporting
components. Unlike Protodrive, this simulator uses separated
distaance (m)
DC/DC converters and H-bridge, with SPD DT relays.
To simulate a real electric car, a particular algorithm was e
needed for the simulator. In this study, the algorithm was (deg
aimed at calculating the voltages neeeded for the two )

mechanically connected DCMs as pressented in [2]-[4].

distaance (m)
Whereas in [5], the algorithm was aimed at obtaining the
voltage of DCM 1 and the current of DCM M 2 for closed loop
torque control. The block diagram of electtric car simulator is Fig. 5 Road profiles and their anglles: hill (top), two hills (middle),
shown in Fig 10. The algorithm needs twoo inputs, i.e. speed trapezoidall (bottom)
profile and road profile and it has output voltages that are fed
to the two DCMs. In this study, the chossen speed’s profile Then, referring to [2]-[4], thhe voltage needed by the two
was a constant speed of 10 m/s or 36 km m/h. Whereas, the DCMs may be calculated in thhe algorithm as the following
chosen road profiles consisted of three tyypes, i.e. one hill, derivation.
two hills, and trapezoidal profiles. The data
d collected from
the aforementioned three road profiles waas a slope angle of Total force occurring in the vehhicle:
the road for every pre-determined distancce. The three road
profiles and their slope angle are shown beelow. ୲ ൌ ୟ ൅ ୥ ൅ ୢ ൅ ୰ (3)

Ft = Total force at the wheeels (N)
heig Fa = acceleration force (NN)
Fg = gravity force (N)
Fd = aerodynamic drag forrce (N)
Fr = rolling resistance forcce (N)
distance (m)
m this following equations:
Those forces were derived from
e ୟ ൌ ƒ (4)
) ୥ ൌ ୴ ‰•‹ሺɅሻ
‰ (5)
ୢ ൌ  ୤ ୢ ˜ ଶ (6)
distance (m) ʹ
୰ ൌ ୰ ୴ ‰…‘•ሺɅሻ (7)

heig m = total mass acting on the wheels (kg)
ht mv = mass of the car (kg)
v = velocity (m/s)
a = acceleration (m/s2)
g = gravity (m/s2)
distance (m)
ș = slope angel of the road (deg)
angl Af = frontal area of the caar (m2)
Cd = coefficient of aerodyynamic drag (-)
) Cr = coefficient of rollingg resistance (-)

distance (m)
with a total mass acting on the wheels
w is as follows:

 ൌ ୵ ൅ ୴ (8)

where mw is the mass of the whheel (kg)

The torque acted on the car was then calculated in

accordance with this following equation:

 ൌ ୲ ”
ୱୡୟ୪୪୧୬୥ (9)

where The two voltages were calculated in MATLAB and then
T = needed torque (N.m) sent to the DCM through microcontroller and H-bridge
r = wheel radius (m) module in the form of PWM signal. The hardware realization
Tscalling = torque scale (-) of the simulator that was used to implement the simple
supercapacitor charging scheme is depicted below.
The torque was scaled and then used to calculate the two
Supercapacitor module
voltages needed by the two DCMs. The two voltages were DCM 2 as load
(10.8 V, 25 F) DCM 1 as
obtained by referring to the DCM electric equation as
follows: electric car

† ୑ଵ (10)
୑ଵ ൌ  ୑ଵ ൅  ൅ ୠୣ୫୤
† ୑ଶ
୑ଶ ൌ  ୑ଶ ൅  ൅ ୠୣ୫୤ (11)
VM1 = voltage of DCM 1 (V)
Battery module ATMega 2560 microcontroller Power supply
VM2 = voltage of DCM 2 (V) (12 V)
(11.1 V) (Arduino Mega board)
IM1 = current of DCM 1 (A)
IM2 = current of DCM 2 (A) Fig. 6 Electric car simulator hardware
R = resistance (Ohm)
Vbemf = voltage of back electro motive force (V)
To have an appropriate simulation, the actual parameters
Since the two motors were connected then Vbemf of an electric car were determined. That parameter was then
produced will be equal and fulfilled: used to calculate the voltages applied to DCMs. The internal
and external parameters of car are listed in Table II.
ୠୣ୫୤ ൌ  ୣ ɘ (12)
ke = bemf constant (V/rad.s-1) Internal parameters External parameters
Ȧ = angular velocity (rad/s) Mass of car = 800 Kg
Mass of wheel = 5 Kg
Whereas, the rotational motion equation of the two Mass of motor drive = 5 Kg
mechanically connected DCMs (no friction assumption) is Radius of wheel = 0.3 m Coefficient of aerodynamic
the following: Gearbox ratio = 1 : 5 drag = 0.55
Frontal area = 1.8 m2 Gravity = 9.8 m/s2
୑ଵ ൅ ୑ଶ ൌ Ƚ (13) Coefficient of rolling
resistance = 0.01+3.6*
where (velocity)
J = moment of inertia (kg.m2)
୑ଵ = torque of DCM 1 (N.m)
୑ଶ = torque of DCM 2 (N.m) A. System Testing
Ƚ = angular acceleration (rad/s2) Testing scheme conducted for supercapacitor charging
scheme follows the scenario in Fig. 7.
By using the connection between torque and current:



I = current (A)
kt = torque constant (N.m/A)

Then from equations (10) and (11), under the assumption Fig. 7 Scheme of System Testing
that the inductance value of each DCM was small, the
followings are obtained: The test was observed when the car was in the downhill
profile for the regenerative braking to occur. The condition
୑ଵ was implemented by applying no voltage to DCM 1. Thus,
୑ଵ ൌ  ൅ ୣɘ (15)
୲ the voltage produced by DCM 1 (the generator) then was
୑ଶ Ƚ െ ୑ଵ (16) used as an electric energy source to charge the
୑ଶ ൌ ൅ ୣɘ ൌ  ൅ ୣɘ
୲ ୲ supercapacitor. For observing the supercapacitor charging

rate, the charging scheme was run in the simulator by using Voltage (V) vs. Time (s)

three road profile scenarios with different slope angles. The

Supercapacitor Voltage
three scenarios were obtained from road profiles in Fig. 5,
i.e. one hill (ș maximum -8.52º), two hills (ș maximum -
16.66º) and trapezoidal (ș -11.3º) profiles. The different
slope angle for each of the road profile resulted in different 25 sec

charging rate, which was shown by the different of

supercapacitor charging current (see Fig. 8). An increase of
supercapacitor voltage at the same periode of time (25
seconds) was also observed with the increase of slope angle Fig. 9 The increase of supercapacitor voltage for the profiles: one hill (top),
(see Fig. 9). two hills (middle), and trapezoidal (bottom)

Currents (A) vs. Time (s)

B. Analysis
Battery current It can be seen from the test results that the supercapacitor
Supercap current charging current and the increase of supercapacitor voltage
were different for each road profile. The amount of charging
current and the increase of the supercapacitor voltage for
three types of road profiles are listed in Table III.


Currents (A) vs. Time (s)

Battery current
Supercap current
Road Slope angles Charging increases
profiles (ș) currents (during 25
One hill -8.52º (max) -0.19 A 0.15 V
Two hills -16.66º (max) -0.21 A 0.17 V
Currents (A) vs. Time (s)

Trapezoidal -11.3º -0.2 A 0.16 V

Battery current
Supercap current

As it is expected, the quicker charging rate was found in

the profile with the highest slope angle. Based on the Table
III above, it showed that the biggest charging current was
found in the two hills road profile that has a maximum slope
angle in the amount of -16.66º. On the other hand, the
Fig. 8 Battery and supercapacitor currents for the profiles: one hill smallest charging current was found in the one hill road
(top), two hills (middle) and trapezoidal (bottom) profile with a maximum slope angle in the amount of -8.52º.
Therefore, the more steep the hill slope, the higher the
Voltage (V) vs. Time (s)
supercapacitor charging current, which produces a quicker
Supercapacitor voltage
charging rate. This fact was also shown by the increase of
supercapacitor voltage.

25 sec

The simple supercapacitor charging scheme was designed

and successfully tested in an electric car simulator by using a
Voltage (V) vs. Time (s) direct current machines. Based on the test result, the amount
of charging current obtained was different for the three types
Supercapacitor Voltage of designed road profile. The highest charging current was
found in the two hills road profile with a highest maximum
slope angle. The lowest one was found in one hill road
profile with a lowest maximum slope angle. The fact that
25 sec
supercapacitor charging current was proportional with the
maximum slope angle of the road profile is in accordance
with the actual condition.

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Fig. 10 The block diagram of simulator algorithm