Powertrain Thermal Management

Integration and Control of a Hybrid Electric Vehicle Battery Pack, E-Motor Drive, and Internal Combustion Engine Multiple Loop Cooling System

Principal Investigator: John Wagner, Clemson University, jwagner@clemson.edu
Faculty: Heath Hofmann,University of Michigan
Zoran Filipi, Clemson University
Student: Xinran (William) Tao, Clemson University
Government: Peter Schihl, U.S. Army TARDEC
Industry: Dee Kivett, Thermo-Pur Technologies
Thomas Beebe, Griffin Thermal Products
Kim Yeow, AVL Powertrain Engineering

Battery pack cooling loopsCooling remains one of the top challenges for US Army ground vehicles. A robust thermal management system with advanced control is required for conventional, hybrid, and electric vehicles for greater performance and reliability on the battlefield and roadways.

Our research focus is smart cooling – the integration and holistic control of electro-mechanical thermal management actuators to balance the heat rejection needs and power consumption. The following goals have been identified:

  1. Create a unified thermal management architecture for hybrid electric ground vehicles which minimizes power consumption through the smart management and optimized operation of the distributed cooling system actuators (coolant pumps, refrigerant compressor, cooling air fans) while satisfying heat rejection requirements.
  2. Develop synchronous supervisory control unit which simultaneously regulates the temperatures inside the battery pack, passenger compartment, e-motor, and the IC engine through real time monitoring and a series of mathematical thermal models with proper level of sophistication.
  3. Collaborate with researchers at the University of Michigan, Clemson University, and Quad to (i) validate computer simulation numerical studies with experimental results including opportunity for hardware-in-the-loop component testing of control system concepts, (ii) integrate updated heat exchanger model to improve overall powertrain cooling system design, and (iii) disseminate results.
  4. Participate in a case study with ARC research community on overall hybrid electric vehicle performance improvements with contribution in minimization of cooling system power consumption to realize greater vehicle efficiency.


  • X. Tao, K. Zhou, A. Ivanco, J. Wagner, H. Hoffman, Z. Filipi, "A Hybrid Electric Vehicle Thermal Management System - Nonlinear Controller Design", SAE Paper 2015-01-1710, SAE World Congress, Detroit, MI, April 2015.
  • X. Tao, and J. Wagner, “Cooling Air Temperature and Mass Flow Rate Control for Hybrid Electric Vehicle Battery Thermal Management”, proceedings of the ASME Dynamic Systems and Control Conference, DSCC 2014-6001, San Antonio, TX, October 2014.
  • Zhang, X., Ivanco, A., Tao, X., Wagner, J. et al., "Optimization of the Series-HEV Control with Consideration of the Impact of Battery Cooling Auxiliary Losses," SAE Int. J. Alt. Power. 3(2):234-243, 2014. doi:10.4271/2014-01-1904.
  • He, F., Ewing, D., Finn, J., Wagner, J., Ma, L., "Thermal Management of Vehicular Payloads using Nanofluid Augmented Coolant Rail - Modeling and Analysis", SAE International Journal of Alternative Powertrains, vol. 2, no. 1, pp.174-203, April 2013.
  • Finn, J., Wagner, J., Walters, E., and Alexander, K., "An Integrated Safety Seat Cooling System – Model and Test", IEEE Trans. Vehicular Technology, vol. 61, no. 5, pp. 1999­2007, June 2012.
  • Finn, J.; Ewing, D.J.; Lin Ma; Wagner, J., "Nanofluid augmented coolant rail thermoelectric cooling of electronic systems - Modeling and analysis," American Control Conference (ACC), pp.3077-3083, 2011. doi:10.1109/ACC.2011.5990929
  • Finn, J.; Ewing, D.J.; Lin Ma; Wagner, J., "Thermal protection of vehicle payloads using phase change materials and liquid cooling," American Control Conference (ACC), pp.1204-1210, 2010. doi: 10.1109/ACC.2010.5531025
  • Salah, M., Mitchell, T., Wagner, J., and Dawson, D., "A Smart Multiple Loop Automotive Cooling System – Model, Control, and Experimental Study", IEEE/ASME Transactions Mechatronics, vol. 15, no. 1, pp. 117-124, February 2010.