(19)
(11)EP 2 587 622 B1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION

(45)Mention of the grant of the patent:
12.07.2017 Bulletin 2017/28

(21)Application number: 12181401.6

(22)Date of filing:  22.08.2012
(51)Int. Cl.: 
H02J 7/04  (2006.01)
G01R 31/36  (2006.01)
H02J 7/14  (2006.01)

(54)

Charge capacity parameter estimation system of electric storage device

Ladekapazitätsparameter-Bewertungssystem einer elektrischen Speichervorrichtung

Système d'évaluation de paramètre de capacité de charge d'un dispositif de stockage électrique


(84)Designated Contracting States:
AL AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR HR HU IE IS IT LI LT LU LV MC MK MT NL NO PL PT RO RS SE SI SK SM TR

(30)Priority: 25.10.2011 JP 2011233560

(43)Date of publication of application:
01.05.2013 Bulletin 2013/18

(73)Proprietor: Honda Motor Co., Ltd.
Tokyo 107-8556 (JP)

(72)Inventors:
  • Nishina, Masatoshi
    Saitama, 351-0193 (JP)
  • Hayashida, Naoya
    Saitama, 351-0193 (JP)

(74)Representative: Weickmann & Weickmann PartmbB 
Postfach 860 820
81635 München
81635 München (DE)


(56)References cited: : 
WO-A1-2005/111642
US-A- 5 896 023
JP-A- 2003 007 353
US-A1- 2004 257 045
  
      
    Note: Within nine months from the publication of the mention of the grant of the European patent, any person may give notice to the European Patent Office of opposition to the European patent granted. Notice of opposition shall be filed in a written reasoned statement. It shall not be deemed to have been filed until the opposition fee has been paid. (Art. 99(1) European Patent Convention).


    Description

    BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION


    Field of the Invention



    [0001] The present invention relates to a charge capacity parameter estimation system for an electric storage device capable of charging and discharging, which estimates a charge capacity parameter indicative of a charge capacity of the electric storage device.

    Description of the Related Art



    [0002] Conventionally, as an estimating device that estimates the capacity of a electric storage device, there has been proposed one disclosed in a Japanese Laid-Open Patent Publication (Kokai) No. H08-339835. The estimating device estimates a remaining capacity as the capacity of the electric storage device, and includes a controller and a current detection circuit that detects electric current flowing from the electric storage device to a load.

    [0003] In this estimating device, as shown FIG. 4 of Japanese Laid-Open Patent Publication (Kokai) No. H08-339835, when the electric storage device is connected to the controller, a remaining capacity CA is set as an initial value (100%). Then, when a discharging operation of the electric storage device is executed, a dischargeable capacity Ci and an actual discharged capacity CH which is actually discharged in one control period are calculated based on a discharge current I. A percentage CB of the actual discharged capacity CH to the dischargeable capacity Ci is calculated, and then the percentage CB is subtracted from the remaining capacity CA, whereby the remaining capacity CA is calculated, i.e. updated.

    [0004] According to the above-mentioned estimating device, the remaining capacity CA is calculated by a method of first setting the remaining capacity CA to the initial value (100%), and then, whenever the discharging operation of the electric storage device is executed, subtracting a dropped amount of the remaining capacity caused by the discharging operation. Therefore, when the method is applied to an electric storage device that repeats charging and discharging operations, such as a rechargeable battery, there is a problem that a charged electric quantity cannot be accurately reflected on the remaining capacity CA, so that the remaining capacity CA cannot be accurately calculated.

    [0005] US 2004/257045 A1, on which the preamble of claim 1 is based, discloses calculating a charge capacity (SOC) of an electric storage device (automotive battery) by:
    • stopping an automotive generator temporarily after starting of the engine by a starter
    • increasing an output of the generator gradually
    • picking up a battery voltage value when a battery charging/discharging current reaches within a predetermined small range, as a pseudo OCV (open circuit voltage)
    • calculating a SOC of the battery according to the OCV using a relation.


    [0006] US 5,896,023 A discloses a similar estimation system, wherein measurements are carried out both of the no-load voltage at the time of a zero crossing of the current after prior charging and of the value of the voltage during a zero crossing of the current after prior discharging.

    SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION



    [0007] It is an object of the present invention to solve the above-described problem, and to provide a charge capacity parameter estimation system for an electric storage device capable of charging and discharging, which can accurately estimate a charge capacity parameter indicative of a charge capacity of the electric storage device.

    [0008] To attain the above object, according to the present invention, there is provided a charge capacity parameter estimation system in accordance with claim 1.

    [0009] According to the charge capacity parameter estimation system for the electric storage device, it is estimated that the actual charge capacity of the electric storage device is less than the charge capacity indicated by the charge capacity parameter, when the charging state of the electric storage device is detected in a case where the generated voltage of the power generator is controlled such that the electric storage device executes the discharging operation to the electric device. In the electric storage device, through the control of the generated voltage of the power generator by the control device, a charging operation from the power generator and a discharging operation to the electric device are controlled according to the charge capacity parameter, and hence in the case where the generated voltage of the power generator is controlled such that the electric storage device executes the discharging operation to the electric device, the charge capacity indicated by the charge capacity parameter at the time is estimated to be a suitable value for executing the discharging operation. When the charging state of the electric storage device is detected despite the estimate, it can be estimated that the actual charge capacity of the electric storage device is less than the charge capacity indicated at the time by the charge capacity parameter. Thus, it is possible to accurately estimate that the actual charge capacity of the electric storage device is less than the charge capacity indicated by the charge capacity parameter.

    [0010] When the estimation means estimates that the actual charge capacity of the electric storage device is less than the charge capacity indicated by the charge capacity parameter, the estimation means corrects the charge capacity parameter such that the charge capacity indicated by the charge capacity parameter is reduced by the predetermined value.

    [0011] When the estimation means estimates that the actual charge capacity of the electric storage device is less than the charge capacity indicated by the charge capacity parameter, the control device executes charging control for controlling the generated voltage of the power generator, such that the charge capacity indicated by the charge capacity parameter is increased by a predetermined value through the charging operation to the electric storage device, and when the charging control is terminated, the estimation means executes the correction of the charge capacity parameter such that the charge capacity indicated by the charge capacity parameter is reduced by the predetermined value.

    [0012] According to this, when it is estimated that the actual charge capacity of the electric storage device is less than the charge capacity indicated by the charge capacity parameter, the charging control for controlling the generated voltage of the power generator is executed such that the charge capacity indicated by the charge capacity parameter is increased by the predetermined value through the charging operation to the electric storage device. And, when the charging control is terminated, the charge capacity parameter is corrected such that the charge capacity indicated by the charge capacity parameter is reduced by the predetermined value, and hence by appropriately setting the predetermined value, the charge capacity indicated by the estimated charge capacity parameter can be made closer to the actual charge capacity of the electric storage device, whereby it is possible to improve estimation accuracy of the charge capacity parameter.

    [0013] When the estimation means executes the correction of the charge capacity parameter, the control device controls the generated voltage of the power generator such that the charge capacity indicated by the charge capacity parameter is increased by the predetermined value through the charging operation to the electric storage device.

    [0014] According to this, when it is estimated that the actual charge capacity of the electric storage device is less than the charge capacity indicated by the charge capacity parameter, the charge capacity parameter is corrected such that the charge capacity indicated by the charge capacity parameter is reduced by the predetermined value. And when the correction of the charge capacity parameter is executed, the generated voltage of the power generator is controlled such that the charge capacity indicated by the charge capacity parameter is increased by the predetermined value through the charging operation to the electric storage device. Therefore, by appropriately setting the predetermined value, it is possible to make the charge capacity indicated by the estimated charge capacity parameter closer to the actual charge capacity of the electric storage device, whereby it is possible to improve the estimation accuracy of the charge capacity parameter.

    [0015] The above and other objects, features, and advantages of the present invention will become more apparent from the following detailed description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.

    BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS



    [0016] 

    FIG. 1 is a schematic diagram showing a configuration of a charge capacity parameter estimation system for an electric storage device, according to a first embodiment of the present invention;

    FIG. 2 is a flowchart showing a power generation control process;

    FIG. 3 is a flowchart showing a charge capacity determination process;

    FIG. 4 is a flowchart showing an estimated charge capacity calculation process;

    FIG. 5 is a flowchart showing a low-capacity time correction process;

    FIG. 6 is a timing chart showing an example of a result of control performed in a case where an actual charge capacity of a battery is less than an estimated charge capacity;

    FIG. 7 is a flowchart showing a variation of the low-capacity time correction process;

    FIG. 8 is a flowchart showing an estimated charge capacity calculation process by a charge capacity parameter estimation system for an electric storage device, according to a second embodiment not covered by the present invention; and

    FIG. 9 is a diagram showing an example of a map used for calculating the estimated charge capacity.


    DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS



    [0017] Hereinafter, a charge capacity parameter estimation system for an electric storage device,
    according to a first embodiment of the present invention, will be described with reference to drawings. As shown in FIG. 1, the charge capacity parameter estimation system 1 includes an ECU 2 and a sensor unit 3, both of which are mounted on a vehicle V. The ECU 2 is electrically connected to the sensor unit 3 and a power generator 5, and executes various control process, including a power generation control process, as described hereinafter.

    [0018] On the vehicle V, a battery 4 as the electric storage device, the power generator 5, auxiliary equipment 6, and so forth are installed. The battery 4 is a lead-acid type, and is electrically connected to the power generator 5 and the auxiliary equipment 6. In the case of the battery 4, as described hereinafter, a generated voltage of the power generator 5 is controlled by the ECU 2, whereby the charge capacity as a charge capacity parameter is controlled. The charge capacity corresponds to an electric quantity (unit: Ah) which can be taken out from the battery 4 before the voltage of the battery 4 reaches a final voltage in the case where the battery 4 is held in a discharging state.

    [0019] Further, the power generator 5 is a combination of an alternating current generator, not shown, and a control circuit (not shown) for controlling the alternating current generator. The alternating current generator is mechanically linked to an engine (not shown) of the vehicle V, and configured to generate electricity when being driven by the motive power of the engine. Further, the control circuit is electrically connected to the ECU 2, and when a command signal is input from the ECU 2, the control circuit controls the generated voltage of the alternating generator such that a required voltage VACG indicated by the command signal is generated as described hereinafter. In short, power generation by the power generator 5 is executed. At this time, an electric current flows from the power generator 5 to the auxiliary equipment 6 and also flows to the battery 4 when the charge capacity of the battery 4 is low.

    [0020] Further, the auxiliary equipment 6 (electric device) comprises an air conditioner, an audio device, and so forth, and operates by power supply from the power generator 5 and/or the battery 4.

    [0021] On the other hand, the sensor unit 3 (charging/discharging state detection means) is a combination of a sensor element and an electric circuit (none of which are shown), and detects a battery current IBAT, a battery terminal voltage VBAT, and a battery temperature TB, and output respective detection signals indicative of them to the ECU 2. The battery temperature TB indicates the temperature of the battery 4, and the battery terminal voltage VBAT indicates a voltage between the output terminals of the battery 4.

    [0022] Further, the battery current IBAT is electric current flowing between the battery 4 and the power generator 5, or between the battery 4 and the auxiliary equipment 6, and is detected as a positive value when flowing from the power generator 5 to the battery 4, i.e. the battery 4 is in a charging state, and is detected as a negative value when flowing from the battery 4 to the auxiliary equipment 6, i.e. the battery 4 is in the discharging state.

    [0023] Further, the ECU 2 is formed by a microcomputer comprising a CPU, a RAM, a ROM, and an I/O interface (none of which are shown), and executes various control processes based on detection signals of the sensor unit 3 and so forth. Specifically, as described hereinafter, the ECU 2 executes a power generation control process, an estimated charge capacity calculation process, a charge capacity determination process, and so forth. Note that in the present embodiment, the ECU 2 corresponds to a control device and estimation means.

    [0024] Next, the power generation control process executed by the ECU 2 will be described with reference to FIG. 2. This process is for controlling the generated voltage of the power generator 5, and is executed at a predetermined control period ΔT (10 msec, for example). Note that various values calculated or set in the following description are assumed to be stored in the RAM of the ECU 2.

    [0025] As shown in FIG. 2, first, in a step 1 (shown as S1 in abbreviated form in FIG. 2; the same shall apply hereinafter), it is determined whether or not a low capacity flag F_SC_LOW is 1. The low capacity flag F_SC_LOW is set, in the charge capacity determination process described hereinafter, based on whether or not an actual charge capacity of the battery 4 is less than an estimated charge capacity What which is an estimated value of the charge capacity.

    [0026] If the answer to the question of the step 1 is affirmative (YES), i.e. if it is determined that the actual charge capacity of the battery 4 is less than the estimated charge capacity What, it is determined that charging of the battery 4 should be executed, and the process proceeds to a step 4, wherein a charging control process is executed. In the charging control process, under normal conditions, a demand voltage VACG is set at each control timing such that it is gradually increased to a predetermined charge value Vchg, and is held at the predetermined charge value Vchg after it is reached. Note that when conditions for rapidly charging the battery 4 are satisfied, at the first control timing, the demand voltage VACG is set to the predetermined charge value Vchg.

    [0027] Next, the process proceeds to a step 7, wherein the command signal indicative of the demand voltage VACG, which is calculated in the step 4, is output to the power generator 5, followed by terminating the present process. This controls the generated voltage of the power generator 5 such that it is increased to the predetermined charge value Vchg, whereby electric current is caused to flow from the power generator 5 to the battery 4, to execute charging of the battery 4.

    [0028] On the other hand, if the answer to the question of the step 1 is negative (NO), i.e. if F_SC_LOW = 0, the process proceeds to a step 2, wherein it is determined whether or not the estimated charge capacity What is larger than the sum Wobj + WA of a predetermined target charge capacity Wobj and a predetermined value WA. The estimated charge capacity What is an estimated value of the charge capacity of the battery 4, and is calculated as described hereinafter. Further, the predetermined target charge capacity Wobj is a target value of the estimated charge capacity What, and is set to, for example, a value which is approximately 80% of a charge level SOC (state-of-charge) of the battery 4. Further, the predetermined value WA is set to a predetermined positive value close to 0.

    [0029] If the answer to the question of the step 2 is affirmative (YES), i.e. if What > Wobj + WA, it is determined that the battery 4 should be controlled to be in the discharging state, and the process proceeds to a step 6, wherein a discharging control process is executed. In the discharging control process, the demand voltage VACG is set at each control timing such that it is gradually reduced to a predetermined discharge value Vdschg, and is held at the predetermined discharge value Vdschg after it is reached.

    [0030] Next, the process proceeds to the step 7, wherein the command signal indicative of the demand voltage VACG, which is calculated in the step 6, is output to the power generator 5, followed by terminating the present process. This controls the generated voltage of the power generator 5 such that it is gradually reduced to the predetermined discharge value Vdschg, and is held at the discharge value Vdschg after it is reached. As a consequence, electric current flows from the battery 4 to the auxiliary equipment 6, which places the battery 4 in the discharging state.

    [0031] On the other hand, if the answer to the question of the step 2 is negative (NO), the process proceeds to a step 3, wherein it is determined whether or not the estimated charge capacity What is less than a value Wobj - WA. If the answer to this question is affirmative (YES), i.e. if What < Wobj - WA, it is determined that charging of the battery 4 should be executed, and the steps 4 and 7 are executed as described above, followed by terminating the present process.

    [0032] On the other hand, if the answer to the question of the step 3 is negative (NO), which means that Wobj - WA ≦ What ≦ Wobj + WA, i.e. if What ≒ Wobj holds, it is determined that the charge capacity of the battery 4 should be held, and the process proceeds to a step 5, wherein a hold control process is executed. In the hold control process, the demand voltage VACG is set such that the state of What ≒ Wobj is held. By thus setting the demand voltage VACG, the estimated charge capacity What is held such that What ≒ Wobj holds. As a consequence, assuming that a predetermined value Ia satisfies Ia > 0 and Ia ≒ 0, the battery current IBAT is held at a value in a predetermined range (-Ia ≦ IBAT ≦ Ia) in the vicinity of 0.

    [0033] Next, the process proceeds to the step 7, wherein the command signal indicative of the demand voltage VACG, which is set in the step 5, is output to the power generator 5, followed by terminating the present process.

    [0034] Next, the charge capacity determination process executed by the ECU 2 will be described with reference to FIG. 3. In this process, it is determined whether or not the actual charge capacity of the battery 4 is less than the estimated charge capacity What, and based on the result of the determination, a value of the low capacity flag F_SC_LOW is set. The process is executed at the above-mentioned predetermined control period ΔT.

    [0035] As shown in FIG. 3, first, in a step 10, it is determined whether or not the power generator 5 (shown as ACG in FIG. 3; the same shall apply hereinafter) is generating electric power. If the answer to this question is negative (NO), in steps 19 and 20, a count value CT of a discharging state counter and a count value CT2 of a charge continuation counter are both set to 0, then in a step 21, the low capacity flag F_SC_LOW is set to 0, followed by terminating the present process.

    [0036] On the other hand, if the answer to the question of the step 10 is affirmative (YES), i.e. if the power generator 5 is generating electric power, the process proceeds to a step 11, wherein it is determined whether or not the demand voltage VACG is lower than the above-mentioned predetermined discharge value Vdschg. If the answer to this question is negative (NO), the steps 19 to 21 are executed as described above, followed by terminating the present process.

    [0037] On the other hand, if the answer to the question of the step 11 is affirmative (YES), i.e. if VACGV ≦ Vdschg holds by executing the above-mentioned discharging control process, the process proceeds to a step 12, wherein it is determined whether or not the battery terminal voltage VBAT is lower than a predetermined discharge reference value Vjud. If the answer to this question is negative (NO), the steps 19 to 21 are executed as described above, followed by terminating the present process.

    [0038] On the other hand, if the answer to the question of the step 12 is affirmative (YES), the process proceeds to a step 13, wherein the count value CT of the discharging state counter is set to the sum (CTz + 1) of the immediately preceding value CTz and 1. That is, the count value CT of the discharging state counter is incremented by 1. The discharging state counter is for counting time during which the battery terminal voltage VBAT is held below the predetermined discharge reference value Vjud during execution of the above-described discharging control process.

    [0039] In a step 14 following the step 13, it is determined whether or not the count value CT of the discharging state counter is larger than a predetermined value CREF1. If the answer to this question is negative (NO), the steps 19 to 21 are executed as described above, followed by terminating the present process.

    [0040] On the other hand, if the answer to the question of the step 14 is affirmative (YES), i.e. if the time during which the battery terminal voltage VBAT is held below the predetermined discharge reference value Vjud has reached a value ΔT·REF1, the process proceeds to a step 15, and it is determined whether or not the battery current IBAT is larger than 0. If the answer to this question is negative (NO), i.e. if the battery 4 is not in the charging state, it is determined that the actual charge capacity of the battery 4 is in a state close to the estimated charge capacity What, and the steps 19 to 21 are executed as described above, followed by terminating the present process.

    [0041] On the other hand, if the answer to the question of the step 15 is affirmative (YES), i.e. if the battery 4 is in the charging state, the process proceeds to a step 16, wherein the count value CT2 of the charge continuation counter is set to the sum (CT2z + 1) of the immediately preceding value CT2z and 1. That is, the count value CT2 of the charge continuation counter is incremented by 1. The charge continuation counter is for counting time during which the battery 4 is held in the charging state during execution of the above-mentioned discharging control process.

    [0042] In a step 17 following the step 16, it is determined whether or not the count value CT2 of the charge continuation counter is larger than a predetermined value CREF2. If the answer to this question is negative (NO), the step 21 is executed as described above, followed by terminating the present process.

    [0043] On the other hand, if the answer to the question of the step 17 is affirmative (YES), i.e. if the time during which the battery 4 is held in the charging state has reached a value ΔT·CREF2, it is determined that the actual charge capacity of the battery 4 is less than the estimated charge capacity What, so that the process proceeds to a step 18, wherein to indicate the fact, the low capacity flag F_SC_LOW is set to 1, followed by terminating the present process.

    [0044] As described above, in the charge capacity determination process, in a case where What > Wobj + WA holds in the power generation control process described with reference to FIG. 2, and the demand voltage VACG is held at the predetermined discharge value Vdschg by execution of the discharging control process, if the battery 4 is in the charging state, it is determined that the actual charge capacity of the battery 4 is less than the estimated charge capacity What, and the low capacity flag F_SC_LOW is set to 1 to indicate the result of the determination.

    [0045] Next, the estimated charge capacity calculation process executed by the ECU 2 will be described with reference to FIG. 4. This process calculates the above-mentioned estimated charge capacity What, and is executed at the above-mentioned predetermined control period ΔT. Note that in the present embodiment, the estimated charge capacity What corresponds to a charge capacity parameter.

    [0046] As shown in FIG. 4, first, in a step 30, it is determined whether or not the low capacity flag F_SC_LOW is 1. If the answer to this question is negative (NO), the process proceeds to a step 31, wherein the immediately preceding value Wtempz of a temporary value Wtemp of the estimated charge capacity is set to the estimated charge capacity What stored in the RAM.

    [0047] Next, the process proceeds to a step 32, wherein the temporary value Wtemp of the estimated charge capacity is set to the sum (Wtempz + ΔT·IBAT) of the immediately preceding value Wtempz and a value ΔT·IBAT. In a step 33 following the step 32, the estimated charge capacity What is set to the temporary value Wtemp, followed by terminating the present process.

    [0048] On the other hand, if the answer to the question of the step 30 is affirmative (YES), i.e. if it is determined that the actual charge capacity of the battery 4 is less than the estimated charge capacity What, and if the above-described charging control process is being executed, the process proceeds to a step 34, wherein a low capacity-time correction process is executed. The low capacity-time correction process is for correcting the estimated charge capacity What such that it becomes closer to the actual charge capacity of the battery 4, and is executed as shown FIG. 5.

    [0049] As shown in FIG. 5, first, in a step 40, it is determined whether or not the immediately preceding value F_SC_LOWz of the low capacity flag is 1. If the answer to this question is negative (NO), i.e. if the present control timing is a first execution of the low capacity-time correction process, the process proceeds to a step 41, wherein a reference value Wjud is set to the sum (What + WD) of the estimated charge capacity What stored in the RAM and a predetermined correction term WD. The predetermined correction term WD is set to a relatively small positive predetermined value.

    [0050] Next, the process proceeds to a step 42, wherein the immediately preceding value Wtempz of the temporary value of the estimated charge capacity is set to the estimated charge capacity What stored in the RAM.

    [0051] On the other hand, if the answer to the question of the step 40 is affirmative (YES), i.e. if the present control timing is a second or later execution of the low capacity-time correction process, the process proceeds to a step 43, wherein the immediately preceding value Wtempz of the temporary value of the estimated charge capacity is set to the temporary value Wtemp of the estimated charge capacity, which is stored in the RAM.

    [0052] In a step 44 following the step 42 or 43, the temporary value Wtemp of the estimated charge capacity is set to the sum (Wtempz + ΔT·IBAt) of the immediately preceding value Wtempz and the value ΔT· IBAT.

    [0053] Next, the process proceeds to a step 45, wherein it is determined whether or not the temporary value Wtemp of the estimated charge capacity is larger than the reference value Wjud. If the answer to this question is negative (NO), the present process is immediately terminated.

    [0054] On the other hand, if the answer to the question of the step 45 is affirmative (YES), i.e. if Wtemp ≦ Wjud holds, the process proceeds to a step 46, wherein the estimated charge capacity What is set to a value (Wtemp - WD) which is calculated by subtracting the correction term WD from the temporary value Wtemp.

    [0055] Next, the process proceeds to a step 47, wherein since the correction of the estimated charge capacity What is finished, it is judged that the low capacity-time correction process and the above-described charging control process should be finished and to indicate the fact, the low capacity flag F_SC_LOW is set to 0, followed by terminating the present process.

    [0056] Referring again to FIG. 4, after the low capacity-time correction process is executed as described above in the step 34, the estimated charge capacity calculation process shown in FIG. 4 terminates.

    [0057] By executing the above-described low capacity-time correction process, when the actual charge capacity of the battery 4 is estimated to be less than the estimated charge capacity What, it is possible to make the estimated charge capacity What closer to the actual charge capacity of the battery 4 by the correction term WD.

    [0058] Next, with reference to FIG. 6, an example of results of the control will be described in which the above-described various control processes are executed when the actual charge capacity of the battery 4 is less than the estimated charge capacity What. As shown in FIG. 6, at time t1, the discharging control process is started, whereafter the demand voltage VACG is gradually reduced to the predetermined discharge value Vdschg, and in accordance therewith, the battery current IBAT is also reduced. At time t2, the demand voltage VACG reaches the predetermined discharge value Vdschg, whereafter the demand voltage VACG is held at the predetermined discharge value Vdschg.

    [0059] Further, during execution of the discharging control process, with the lapse of time, at a time point (time t3) when the time during which the battery terminal voltage VBAT is held less than the predetermined discharge reference value Vjud has reached the value ΔT·CREF1, the actual charge capacity of the battery 4 become less than the estimated charge capacity What, which results in IBAT > 0, placing the battery 4 in the charging state. Further, with the lapse of time, at a time point (time t4) when the time during which the battery 4 is held in the charging state has reached the value ΔT·CREF2, it is determined that the actual charge capacity of the battery 4 is less than the estimated charge capacity What, so that the low capacity flag F_SC_LOW is set to 1.

    [0060] As described above, with the charge capacity parameter estimation system 1 according to the first embodiment, during execution of the discharging control process of the step 6 in FIG. 2, if the answers to the questions of the steps 14 and 17 in FIG. 3 are both affirmative (YES), i.e. in the case where the time during which the demand voltage VACG is held at the predetermined discharge value Vdschg has reached the value ΔT·CREF1, when thereafter, the time during which battery 4 is held in the charging state reaches the value ΔT·CREF2, it is determined that the actual charge capacity of the battery 4 is less than the estimated charge capacity What, so that the low capacity flag F_SC_LOW is set to 1.

    [0061] In this case, since the discharging control process is executed when What > Wobj + WA holds, if the estimated charge capacity What is equal to or larger than the actual charge capacity of the battery 4, then the battery 4 is controlled to be in the discharging state. In spite of this control, if the battery 4 remains in the charging state, it can be estimated that the actual charge capacity of the battery 4 is less than the estimated charge capacity What at the time. Thus, it is possible to accurately estimate that the actual charge capacity of the battery 4 is less than the estimated charge capacity What. Especially, even if the estimated charge capacity What has a calculation error (deviation) which is significantly larger than the actual charge capacity of the battery 4 due to replacement of the battery 4 or the like, it is possible to accurately estimate such an occurrence of the calculation error.

    [0062] Further, the charge capacity determination process in FIG. 2 is executed only during execution of the discharging control process, i.e. when What > Wobj + WA holds, but is not executed when What ≦ Wobj + WA holds. This makes it possible to estimate that the actual charge capacity of the battery 4 is less than the estimated charge capacity What while reducing the range of change in the actual charge capacity of the battery 4.

    [0063] Further, if it is determined that the actual charge capacity of the battery 4 is less than the estimated charge capacity What, and the low capacity flag F_SC_LOW is set to 1, in the step 4 of FIG. 2, the charging control process is executed and the low capacity-time correction process of FIG. 5 is executed as well. As a consequence, the charging control process is executed such that the actual charge capacity of the battery 4 is increased by the correction term WD, and at the time point when the charging control process is terminated (at the time point when the answer to the question of the step 45 is affirmative (YES)), the estimated charge capacity What is corrected such that it is reduced by the correction term WD. This makes it possible to make the estimated charge capacity What closer to the actual charge capacity of the battery 4 by the correction term WD.

    [0064] Therefore, in the case where the actual charge capacity of the battery 4 is less than the estimated charge capacity What, with the progress of control, the charge capacity determination process in FIG. 3 and the low capacity-time correction process in FIG. 5 are executed repeatedly, whereby the estimated charge capacity What can be gradually made closer to the actual charge capacity of the battery 4 each time by the correction term WD, which makes it possible to improve the calculation accuracy. Especially, as mentioned hereinabove, even if the estimated charge capacity What has a calculation error significantly larger than the actual charge capacity of the battery 4 due to replacement of the battery 4 or the like, it is possible to gradually reduce such a calculation error with the progress of control.

    [0065] Note that, the correction process of FIG. 5 as the low capacity-time correction process in the step 34 in FIG. 4 described above may be replaced by a correction process shown in FIG. 7. As apparent from comparison between FIG. 7 and FIG. 5, the correction process in FIG. 7 is identical to the correction process in FIG. 5 except steps 51, 52 and 56, and hence the following description is given mainly of different points, and description of the other points will be omitted.

    [0066] As shown in FIG. 7, first, if the answer to the question of a step 50 is negative (NO), in the step 51, the reference value Wjud is set to the estimated charge capacity What stored in the RAM. Next, in the step 52, the immediately preceding value Wtempz of the temporary value of the estimated charge capacity is set to a value (What - WD) which is calculated by subtracting the correction term WD from the estimated charge capacity What stored in the RAM.

    [0067] Further, if the answer to the question of a step 55 is affirmative (YES), the process proceeds to the step 56, wherein the estimated charge capacity What is set to the temporary value Wtemp. Next, in a step 57, similarly to the above-mentioned step 47, the low capacity flag F_SC_LOW is set to 0, followed by terminating the present process.

    [0068] Also in the case where the low capacity-time correction process in FIG. 7 is executed as described above, it is possible to obtain the same advantageous effects as obtained in the case where the low capacity-time correction process in FIG. 5 is executed. More specifically, when the actual charge capacity of the battery 4 is estimated to be less than the estimated charge capacity What, it is possible to make the estimated charge capacity What closer to the actual charge capacity of the battery 4 by the correction term WD.

    [0069] Although in the first embodiment, the battery 4 of lead-acid type is used as the electric storage device, by way of example, the electric storage device according to the present invention is not limited to this, but any device may be used insofar as it can charge and discharge. For example, a rechargeable battery, a super capacitor, or the like, which can charge and discharge, may be used as the electric storage device.

    [0070] Further, although in the first embodiment, the estimated charge capacity What is used as a charge capacity parameter, by way of example, the charge capacity parameter of the present invention is not limited to this, but any parameter may be used insofar as it indicates a charge capacity of the electric storage device. For example, a value which is calculated by subtracting the estimated charge capacity What from the maximum charge capacity of the electric storage device as a chargeable limit, may be used as the charge capacity parameter. Further, the charge level SOC or a value which is calculated by subtracting the charge level SOC from a value 100 may be used as the charge capacity parameter. In this case, it is only required that the charge level SOC is calculated based on the estimated charge capacity What.

    [0071] Further, although in the first embodiment, the ECU 2 is used as a control device, by way of example, the control device of the present invention is not limited to this, but any device may be used insofar as it can control charging and discharging operations of the electric storage device. For example, a control circuit may be used as the control device.

    [0072] On the other hand, although in the first embodiment, the power generator 5 of alternating current type is used as the power generator, by way of example, the power generator of the present invention is not limited to this, but any generator may be used insofar as the generated voltage thereof can be controlled. For example, a power generator of direct current type may be used as the power generator.

    [0073] Further, although in the first embodiment, the auxiliary equipment 6 mounted on a vehicle is used as an electric device, by way of example, the electric device of the present invention is not limited to this, but any device may be used insofar as it works by power supply. For example, a device incorporating an electric motor or an electromagnetic actuator may be used as the electric device.

    [0074] Further, although in the first embodiment, the sensor unit 3 is used as charging/discharging state detection means, by way of example, the charging/discharging state detection means of the present invention is not limited to this, but any charging/discharging state detection means may be used insofar as it can detect a charging/discharging state. For example, an electric current sensor which detects electric current may be used as the charging/discharging state detection means.

    [0075] Next, a charge capacity parameter estimation system according to a second embodiment will be described. The charge capacity parameter estimation system of the present embodiment is identical in respect of the mechanical and electrical arrangement to the charge capacity parameter estimation system according to the first embodiment, and only details of the control processes are different. Therefore, the following description is mainly given of different points. Further, the same components as those of the first embodiment are denoted by the same reference numerals and description thereof is omitted.

    [0076] The charge capacity parameter estimation system comprises a ECU 2, and the ECU 2 executes, as the power generation control process, a control process is executed which is obtained by omitting the step 1 from the above-described power generation control process in FIG. 2, but the above-described charge capacity determination process in FIG. 3 is not executed. Further, the ECU 2 executes, as the estimated charge capacity calculation process, a calculation process shown in FIG. 8 is executed at the above-mentioned predetermined control period ΔT instead of the above-described calculation process in FIG. 4.

    [0077] More specifically, as shown in FIG. 8, first, in a step 60, it is determined whether or not the power generator 5 is generating electric power. If the answer to this question is negative (NO), the process proceeds to a step 67, wherein a count value CT3 of a calculation condition counter is set to 0, followed by terminating the present process. On the other hand, if answer to the question of the step 60 is affirmative (YES), the process proceeds to a step 61, wherein it is determined whether or not -Ia ≦ IBAT ≦ Ia holds. If the answer to this question is negative (NO), the step 67 is executed as described above, followed by terminating the present process.

    [0078] On the other hand, if the answer to the question of the step 61 is affirmative (YES), i.e. if the battery current IBAT is close to 0, the process proceeds to a step 62, wherein it is determined whether or not VACG - α ≦ VBAT ≦ VACG + α holds. The value α is a positive predetermined value, and the step 62 is for determining whether or not load of auxiliary equipment 6 is in an unstable state (suddenly decreasing or suddenly increasing state).

    [0079] If the answer to the question of the step 62 is negative (NO), i.e. if the load of the auxiliary equipment 6 is in an unstable state, then the step 67 is executed, followed by terminating the present process. On the other hand, if the answer to the question of the step 62 is affirmative (YES), i.e. if the load of the auxiliary equipment 6 is in a stable state, the process proceeds to a step 63, wherein an average value VBATave of an battery terminal voltage is calculated. The average value VBATave is calculated by the moving average method using a predetermined number of values of the battery terminal voltage VBAT.

    [0080] In a step 64 following the step 63, the count value CT3 of the calculation condition counter is set to the sum (CT3z + 1) of the immediately preceding value CT3z thereof and 1. That is, the count value CT3 of the calculation condition counter is incremented by 1. The calculation condition counter is for counting a duration of time during which the calculation conditions of the estimated charge capacity What are satisfied (duration of time during which all of the answers to the questions of the above-described steps 60 to 62 are affirmative (YES)).

    [0081] Next, the process proceeds to a step 65, wherein it is determined whether or not the count value CT3 of the calculation condition counter is larger than a predetermined value CREF3. If the answer to this question is negative (NO), the present process is immediately terminated.

    [0082] On the other hand, if the answer to the question of the step 65 is affirmative (YES), i.e. if the duration of time during which the calculation conditions of the estimated charge capacity What are satisfied has reached a value ΔT·CREF3, the process proceeds to a step 66, wherein the estimated charge capacity What is calculated according to the average value VBATave of the battery terminal voltage and the battery temperature TB, by searching a map shown in FIG. 9. In FIG. 9, i and j are positive integers. As described above, the estimated charge capacity What is calculated in the step 66, followed by terminating the present process.

    [0083] Note that, in the present embodiment, the ECU2 corresponds to the control device and the estimation means, the sensor unit 3 corresponds to an electric current detecting-means and voltage detecting-means. Further, the battery current IBAT corresponds to electric current which flows during charging and discharging operations of the electric storage device, and the battery terminal voltage VBAT and the average value VBATave of the battery terminal voltage correspond to a voltage of the electric storage device. Further, the map of FIG. 9 corresponds to a correlation model which represents a correlation between the voltage of the electric storage device and the charge capacity parameter, and the estimated charge capacity What corresponds to the charge capacity parameter.

    [0084] As described above, with the charge capacity parameter estimation system according to the second embodiment, when the battery current IBAT is held in a predetermined range (-Ia ≦ IBAT ≦ Ia) close to 0 by the power generation control process, the average value VBATave of the battery terminal voltage is calculated, and when the time during which the battery current IBAT is held close to 0 has continued for ΔT·CREF3, the estimated charge capacity What is calculated according to the average value VBATave of the battery terminal voltage and the battery temperature TB, by searching the map shown in FIG. 9. In this case, since the battery terminal voltage VBAT at the time of the battery current IBAT being held close to 0 can be regarded as close to an open circuit voltage of the battery 4, and hence, by using such average value VBATave of the battery terminal voltage VBAT, it is possible to accurately calculate the estimated charge capacity What even during power generation of the power generator 5.

    [0085] Note that although the second embodiment is an example in which the map in FIG. 9 is used as a correlation model which represents the correlation between the voltage of the electric storage device and the charge capacity parameter, the correlation model is not limited to this, but any correlation model may be used insofar as it can represent the correlation between the voltage of the electric storage device and the charge capacity parameter. For example, as the correlation model, a mathematical formula which defines a relationship between the voltage of the electric storage device and the charge capacity parameter may be used, or a combination of the mathematical formula and the map may be used.

    [0086] It is further understood by those skilled in the art that the foregoing are preferred embodiments of the invention, and that various changes and modifications may be made without departing from the scope of the claims.

    [0087] A charge capacity parameter estimation system for an electric storage device capable of charging and discharging is provided, which can accurately estimate a charge capacity parameter indicative of a charge capacity of the electric storage device. The charge capacity parameter estimation system for a battery includes an ECU and a sensor unit. The ECU estimates that an actual charge capacity of the electric storage device is less than an estimated charge capacity, when a charging state of the electric storage device is detected, in a case where a generated voltage of a power generator is controlled such that the battery executes a discharging operation to an auxiliary equipment.


    Claims

    1. A charge capacity parameter estimation system which is adapted to estimate a charge capacity parameter (What) indicative of a charge capacity of an electric storage device (4) that is electrically connected to a power generator (5) of which a generated voltage is controlled by a control device (2), and to an electric device (6) to which generated voltage is supplied from the power generator (5), the electric storage device (4) is adapted to be controlled in respect of a charging operation from the power generator (5) and a discharging operation to the electric device (6) according to the charge capacity parameter (What) indicative of the charge capacity, through control of the generated voltage of the power generator (5) by the control device (2),
    wherein the system comprises current detection means (3) for detecting a current flowing during a charging/discharging operation of the electric storage device (4); and
    voltage detection means (3) for detecting a voltage of the electric storage device (3);
    characterized by
    estimation means adapted to estimate that an actual charge capacity of the electric storage device (4) is less than the charge capacity indicated by the estimated charge capacity parameter (What), when the charging state of the electric storage device (4) in which an electric current flowing to the electric storage device (4) is larger than 0 is detected, in a case where the generated voltage of the power generator (5) is controlled to a predetermined discharge value (Vdschg) such that the electric storage device (4) executes the discharging operation to the electric device (6), wherein the charge capacity parameter (What) is estimated using a correlation model representing a correlation between the voltage of the electric storage device (4) and the charge capacity parameter (What), based on a voltage of the electric storage device (4) detected when the electric current flowing to or from the electric storage device (4) is held in a predetermined range around 0 by the voltage generated by the power generator (5), and
    correction means adapted to correct, based on the result determined by the estimation means, the estimated charge capacity parameter (What) repeatedly such that it becomes gradually closer to the actual charge capacity of the electric storage device (4),
    wherein the electric storage device (4) is a rechargable battery or a super capacitor.
     
    2. The charge capacity parameter estimation system as claimed in claim 1,
    wherein when said estimation means estimates that the actual charge capacity of the electric storage device (4) is less than the charge capacity indicated by the charge capacity parameter (What), the control device is adapted to execute charging control for controlling the generated voltage of the power generator (5), such that the charge capacity indicated by the charge capacity parameter (What) is gradually increased through the charging operation to the electric storage device (4), and to terminate the charging control at timing at which the charge capacity indicated by the charge capacity parameter (What) is increased by a predetermined value (WD) from a start of the charging control, during execution thereof, and
    wherein when the charging control is terminated, said correction means is adapted to correct the estimated charge capacity parameter (What) such that the charge capacity indicated by the charge capacity parameter (What) approaches to the actual charge capacity of the electric storage device (4) by the predetermined value (WD).
     


    Ansprüche

    1. Ladekapazitätparameter-Schätzsystem, das dazu ausgelegt ist, einen Ladekapazitätsparameter (What) zu schätzen, der eine Ladekapazität einer elektrischen Speichervorrichtung (4) angibt, die elektrisch verbunden ist mit einem Stromgenerator (5), dessen generierte Spannung durch eine Steuerungsvorrichtung (2) gesteuert wird, und mit einer elektrischen Vorrichtung (6), der die vom Stromgenerator (5) generierte Spannung zugeführt wird, wobei die elektrische Speichervorrichtung (4) ausgelegt ist, um in Bezug auf einen Ladebetrieb von dem Stromgenerator (5) und einen Entladebetrieb zur elektrischen Vorrichtung (6) gemäß dem Ladekapazitätsparameter (What), der die Ladekapazität angibt, durch Steuerung der vom Stromgenerator (5) generierten Spannung durch die Steuerungsvorrichtung (2) gesteuert zu werden,
    wobei das System ein Stromdetektionsmittel (3) zum Detektieren eines Stroms, der während eines Lade-/Entladebetriebs der elektrischen Speichervorrichtung (4) fließt; und
    ein Spannungsdetektionsmittel (3) zum Detektieren einer Spannung der elektrischen Speichervorrichtung (3),
    gekennzeichnet durch
    ein Schätzmittel, das ausgelegt ist, um zu schätzen, dass eine aktuelle Ladekapazität der elektrischen Speichervorrichtung (4) niedriger als die vom geschätzten Ladekapazitätsparameter (What) angegebene Ladekapazität ist, wenn der Ladezustand der elektrischen Speichervorrichtung (4), in der ein zur elektrischen Speichervorrichtung (4) fließender elektrischer Strom größer als 0 ist, detektiert wird, in einem Fall, wo die vom Stromgenerator (5) generierte Spannung auf einen vorbestimmten Entladewert (Vdschg) gesteuert wird, so dass die elektrische Speichervorrichtung (4) den Entladebetrieb zur elektrischen Vorrichtung (6) ausführt, wobei der Ladekapazitätsparameter (What) unter Verwendung eines Korrelationsmodells geschätzt wird, das eine Korrelation zwischen der Spannung der elektrischen Speichervorrichtung (4) und dem Ladekapazitätsparameter (What) repräsentiert, basierend auf einer Spannung der elektrischen Speichervorrichtung (4), die detektiert wird, wenn der zu oder von der elektrischen Speichervorrichtung (4) fließende elektrische Strom in einem vorbestimmten Bereich um 0 herum erhalten wird, durch die vom Stromgenerator (5) generierte Spannung, und
    ein Korrekturmittel, das dazu ausgelegt ist, um basierend auf dem vom Schätzmittel bestimmten Ergebnis, den geschätzten Ladekapazitätsparameter (What) wiederholt zu korrigieren, so dass er der aktuellen Kapazität der elektrischen Speichervorrichtung (4) allmählich näher kommt,
    wobei die elektrische Speichervorrichtung (4) eine wiederaufladbare Batterie oder ein Superkondensator ist.
     
    2. Das Ladekapazitätparameter-Schätzsystem nach Anspruch 1,
    wobei, wenn das Schätzmittel schätzt, dass die aktuelle Ladekapazität der elektrischen Speichervorrichtung (4) niedriger als die vom Ladekapazitätsparameter (What) angegebene Ladekapazität ist, die Steuervorrichtung ausgelegt ist, um eine Ladesteuerung zum Steuern der vom Stromgenerator (5) generierten Spannung auszuführen, so dass die vom Ladekapazitätsparameter (What) angegebene Ladekapazität durch den Ladebetrieb der elektrischen Speichervorrichtung (4) allmählich erhöht wird, und um die Ladesteuerung zu einer Zeit zu beenden, zu der die vom Ladekapazitätsparamter (What) angegebene Ladekapazität auf einen vorbestimmten Wert (WD) ab einem Beginn der Ladesteuerung, während deren Ausführung, erhöht wird, und
    wobei, wenn die Ladesteuerung beendet wird, das Korrekturmittel ausgelegt ist, um den geschätzten Ladekapazitätsparameter (What) um den vorbestimmten Wert (WD) derart zu korrigieren, dass sich die vom Ladekapazitätsparameter (What) angegebene Ladekapazität der aktuellen Ladekapazität der elektrischen Speichervorrichtung (4) annähert.
     


    Revendications

    1. Système d'estimation de paramètre de capacité de charge conçu pour estimer un paramètre de capacité de charge (What) indicatif d'une capacité de charge d'un dispositif de stockage électrique (4) connecté électriquement à un générateur de puissance (5) dont une tension générée est commandée par un dispositif de commande (2), et à un dispositif électrique (6) auquel la tension générée est fournie depuis le générateur de puissance (5), le dispositif de stockage électrique (4) étant conçu pour être commandé selon une opération de charge à partir du générateur de puissance (5) et une opération de décharge vers le dispositif électrique (6) en fonction du paramètre de capacité de charge (What) indicatif de la capacité de charge, par la commande de la tension générée du générateur de puissance (5) par le dispositif de commande (2),
    le système comprenant des moyens de détection de courant (3) pour détecter un courant circulant pendant une opération de charge/décharge du dispositif de stockage électrique (4) ; et
    des moyens de détection de tension (3) pour détecter une tension du dispositif de stockage électrique (3) ;
    caractérisé par
    des moyens d'estimation conçus pour estimer qu'une capacité de charge réelle du dispositif de stockage électrique (4) est inférieure à la capacité de charge indiquée par le paramètre de capacité de charge (What) estimé, lorsque l'état de charge du dispositif de stockage électrique (4) dans lequel un courant électrique circulant vers le dispositif de stockage électrique (4) est supérieur à 0 est détecté, dans un cas où la tension générée du générateur de puissance (5) est commandée à une valeur de décharge prédéterminée (Vdschg) de sorte que le dispositif de stockage électrique (4) exécute l'opération de décharge vers le dispositif électrique (6),
    le paramètre de capacité de charge (What) étant estimé en utilisant un modèle de corrélation représentant une corrélation entre la tension du dispositif de stockage électrique (4) et le paramètre de capacité de charge (What), basé sur une tension du dispositif de stockage électrique (4) détectée lorsque le courant électrique circulant vers ou à partir du dispositif de stockage électrique (4) est maintenu dans une plage prédéterminée autour de 0 par la tension générée par le générateur de puissance (5), et
    des moyens de correction conçus pour corriger de manière répétée, sur la base du résultat déterminé par les moyens d'estimation, le paramètre de capacité de charge (What) estimé de sorte qu'il se rapproche graduellement de la capacité de charge réelle du dispositif de stockage électrique (4),
    le dispositif de stockage électrique (4) étant une batterie rechargeable ou un super condensateur.
     
    2. Système d'estimation de paramètre de capacité de charge selon la revendication 1,
    dans lequel, lorsque lesdits moyens d'estimation estiment que la capacité de charge réelle du dispositif de stockage électrique (4) est inférieure à la capacité de charge indiquée par le paramètre de capacité de charge (What), le dispositif de commande est conçu pour exécuter la commande de charge pour commander la tension générée du générateur de puissance (5), de sorte que la capacité de charge indiquée par le paramètre de capacité de charge (What) soit augmentée graduellement par l'opération de charge vers le dispositif de stockage électrique (4), et pour terminer la commande de charge à l'instant auquel la capacité de charge indiquée par le paramètre de capacité de charge (What) est augmentée d'une valeur prédéterminée (WD) à partir d'un début de la commande de charge, pendant l'exécution de celle-ci, et
    dans lequel, lorsque la commande de charge est terminée, lesdits moyens de correction sont conçus pour corriger le paramètre de capacité de charge (What) estimé de sorte que la capacité de charge indiquée par le paramètre de capacité de charge (What) s'approche de la capacité de charge réelle du dispositif de stockage électrique (4) de la valeur prédéterminée (WD).
     




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    REFERENCES CITED IN THE DESCRIPTION



    This list of references cited by the applicant is for the reader's convenience only. It does not form part of the European patent document. Even though great care has been taken in compiling the references, errors or omissions cannot be excluded and the EPO disclaims all liability in this regard.

    Patent documents cited in the description