(19)
(11)EP 2 738 425 B1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION

(45)Mention of the grant of the patent:
25.12.2019 Bulletin 2019/52

(21)Application number: 14156833.7

(22)Date of filing:  25.01.2010
(51)Int. Cl.: 
F16H 48/30  (2012.01)
B60W 10/16  (2012.01)
F16H 48/36  (2012.01)

(54)

A device for torque vectoring

Vorrichtung zum Torque-Vectoring

Dispositif de vecteur de couple


(84)Designated Contracting States:
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 SE SI SK SM TR

(30)Priority: 05.03.2009 SE 0950125
12.10.2009 SE 0901310
12.01.2010 SE 1000027

(43)Date of publication of application:
04.06.2014 Bulletin 2014/23

(62)Application number of the earlier application in accordance with Art. 76 EPC:
10749006.2 / 2404081

(73)Proprietor: BorgWarner Sweden AB
261 24 Landskrona (SE)

(72)Inventors:
  • Severinsson, Lars
    310 21 HISHULT (SE)
  • Nilsson, Kristoffer
    22731 LUND (SE)

(74)Representative: Ström & Gulliksson AB 
P O Box 4188
203 13 Malmö
203 13 Malmö (SE)


(56)References cited: : 
US-A1- 2004 220 011
US-A1- 2007 249 456
  
      
    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

    FIELD OF THE INVENTION



    [0001] The present invention relates to a device for torque vectoring. More particularly, the present invention relates to a device for applying a torque difference between first and second drive shafts of an axle of a wheeled vehicle.

    BACKGROUND



    [0002] In a road vehicle, especially a car, it is advantageous to be able to freely distribute drive torque to different wheels in order to enhance the driving dynamics of the vehicle. Devices for accomplishing this desired result are in the art referred to as torque vectoring devices.

    [0003] Torque vectoring devices may be used in either two-wheel drive vehicles or four-wheel drive vehicles, although the latter case must presently be regarded as more common. It can also be used for either rear or front drive shafts or in the cardan shaft for distributing torque between the front and rear drive shafts.

    [0004] In order to obtain the desired result with regard to the driving dynamics, it may in certain situations be advantageous to provide a drive wheel with a positive torque in relation to the other drive wheel on the driving axle. Such a positive torque may be obtained in a way known per se by a mechanical gear device for gearing-up or increasing the rotational speed of the drive shaft for the wheel in question by for example 10%.

    [0005] Many examples of such mechanical gear devices are known. In such arrangements being both heavy and expensive, torque vectoring devices are arranged at either side of the central differential for the two drive shafts.

    [0006] Hence, when a differential rotational speed between two wheels is requested the prior art devices are affecting the rotational speed relative the absolute rotational speed, leading to heavy devices having a relatively high power consumption. US-A-2007/024945 6 (see embodiment of fig. 5) discloses a device in accordance with the preamble of claim 1.

    SUMMARY



    [0007] Accordingly, the present invention preferably seeks to mitigate, alleviate or eliminate one or more of the above-identified deficiencies in the art and disadvantages singly or in any combination and solves at least the above-mentioned problems by providing a device according to the appended patent claims.

    [0008] It is an object of the invention to provide a torque vectoring device, which overcomes the above mentioned problems.

    [0009] A further object of the present invention is to provide an efficient torque vectoring device being configured to be implemented in a modern vehicle.

    [0010] Moreover, an object of the present invention is to provide a torque vectoring device which has a significantly reduced size and energy consumption.

    [0011] The invention is defined in claim 1. Preferred embodiments thereof are defined in the dependent claims. Accordingly, a device for torque vectoring in a wheeled vehicle is provided. The device comprises a differential mechanism arranged on an axle having a first drive shaft and a second drive shaft, an electrical power source connected to an electrical motor, said electrical motor being connectable to said axle for torque vectoring between said first drive shaft and said second drive shaft, and control means connected to said power source and configured to receive a plurality of variables representing the current vehicle state and to determine drive currents being dependent on said variables. Said drive currents are supplied to said electrical motor from said power source for introducing a torque increase to either one of said first or second drive shafts and a corresponding torque decrease to the other one of said first or second drive shafts. This is advantageous in that the device may be made relatively small, as it requires the electrical motor to only operate at a rotational speed being proportional to the differential rotational speed, instead of at a rotational speed being proportional to the absolute rotational speed.

    [0012] Said electrical power source may comprise an accumulator, and said control means may comprise a vehicle communication network configured to collect the plurality of variables, a controller configured to receive said variables and calculate one or more control signals, and a power electronics unit configured to receive said one or more control signals and to control the energy flow between the accumulator and the electrical motor by supplying said drive currents via the accumulator. Hence, the device may be used for real time state detection such that the device may be used as a tractive enhancement feature on surfaces having inhomogeneous friction.

    [0013] The device may further comprise an electrical propulsion motor arranged to drive said axle. This is advantageous in that a common electrical system may be used for the electrical motor and the propulsion motor, thus reducing size and complexity of the device.

    [0014] The electrical propulsion motor may be arranged at said axle such that a rotor of said electrical propulsion motor is rotating around the axis of said axle. Hence, no components are necessary for transmitting torque to the axle leading to a more compact device.

    [0015] The differential mechanism comprises a differential, which is advantageous in that readily available components may be used, and the electrical motor may be connected to the first drive shaft and said second drive shaft by means of a planetary gear set, wherein the electrical motor is driving a sun gear, the first drive shaft is connected to a ring gear, and wherein the second drive shaft is connected to planetary gears. In such embodiment, the gear ratios of the planetary gear set may be designed such that no torque is transmitted through the planetary gear set when the electrical motor is deactivated. Further, the gear ratios of the planetary gear set may be designed such that the electrical motor is standing still when the first drive shaft and the second drive shaft are rotating at the same rotational speed. This means that possible loss of energy is reduced.

    [0016] The differential mechanism may comprise a first planetary gear set connected to the first drive shaft, and a second planetary gear set connected to the second drive shaft, and said electrical motor may be connected to said first drive shaft and said second drive shaft by means of two gears rotating at different directions, wherein said gears are connected to each other by means of a shaft extending along the axle. Hence, the shaft connecting the gears is designed to stand still when the first drive shaft and the second drive shaft are rotating at the same rotational speed. Further, the shaft is designed to rotate at a speed being proportional to the differential rotational speed between the first drive shaft and the second drive shaft. Since the differential rotational speed at most times will be zero, or very close to zero, energy losses will be reduced.

    [0017] The electrical motor may be connected to a clutch configured to decouple the rotational axis of the electrical motor from said differential mechanism. The clutch may be automatically decoupled when the rotational speed of said clutch is exceeding a predetermined threshold value. Alternately or additionally, the control means may be configured to cause automatic decoupling of said clutch based on an analysis of at least one of said plurality of variables representing the current vehicle state. This is advantageous in that the electrical motor is protected against overload, e.g. in transient vehicle conditions such as ESP intervention.

    [0018] Said propulsion motor may be connected to a mechanical disconnect unit configured to disconnect the propulsion motor from said axle. Alternately or additionally, said control means may be configured to cause automatic actuation of said mechanical disconnect unit based on an analysis of at least one of said plurality of variables representing the current vehicle state, so as to disconnect the propulsion motor from said axle. This is further advantageous in that high losses, occurring from drag torque and field weakening during high speed, may be reduced or eliminated.

    [0019] Said power electronics unit may be further configured to control the energy flow between the accumulator and the propulsion motor by supplying drive currents to said propulsion motor via the accumulator, and the power electronics unit may be further configured to allow reverse energy flow for charging the accumulator during braking of the vehicle. Regenerative braking may thus be used to decrease the energy consumption of the vehicle.

    [0020] Said controller may be configured to execute a plurality of control programs, each control program being designed to control a respective aspect of the driving dynamics of the vehicle by appropriately calculating torque requests to said electrical motor, as represented by said one or more control signals to the power electronics unit, based on said plurality of variables representing the current vehicle state.

    [0021] Said controller may further comprise arbitration functionality configured to handle concurrent torque requests from different ones of said control programs by prioritizing among such concurrent requests and permitting, combining or inhibiting each individual concurrent torque request as deemed most appropriate.

    BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS



    [0022] Hereinafter, the invention will be described with reference to the appended drawings, wherein:

    Fig. 1 is a schematic view of a vehicle according to an embodiment;

    Fig. 2 is a schematic view of a vehicle according to another embodiment;

    Fig. 3 is a schematic view of a vehicle according to a further embodiment;

    Fig. 4 is a schematic view of a vehicle according to a yet further embodiment;

    Fig. 5 is a schematic view of a vehicle according to another embodiment;

    Fig. 6 is a schematic view of a torque vectoring device according to an embodiment;

    Fig. 7 is a cross sectional view of a torque vectoring device according to an embodiment not comprised in the invention;

    Fig. 8 is a cross sectional view of a torque vectoring device according to an embodiment;

    Fig. 9 is a cross sectional view of a clutch for use within a torque vectoring device according to an embodiment; and

    Fig. 10 is a block diagram illustrating, on a schematic level, how a torque vectoring device of Figs. 7-8 can be controlled by a controller device in order to regulate the dynamics of a vehicle.


    DESCRIPTION OF EMBODIMENTS



    [0023] Several embodiments will be described in more detail below with reference to the accompanying drawings in order for those skilled in the art to be able to carry out the invention. The invention may, however, be embodied in many different forms and should not be construed as limited to the embodiments set forth herein. Rather, these embodiments are provided so that this disclosure will be thorough and complete, and will fully convey the scope of the invention to those skilled in the art. The embodiments do not limit the invention, but the invention is only limited by the appended patent claims. Furthermore, the terminology used in the detailed description of the particular embodiments illustrated in the accompanying drawings is not intended to be limiting of the invention.

    [0024] Examples of drive line configurations of a vehicle are shown in Figs. 1 to 6. In these embodiments, the vehicle 10 has a front axle 12 being connected to a rear axle 14, and a torque vectoring device 16. In Fig. 1, the front axle 12 is driven by means of a transmission 18, and the rear axle 14 is driven by means of an electrical motor 20. The torque vectoring device 16 is arranged at the rear axle 14. In Fig. 2, a similar configuration is shown but here the rear axle is driven by means of a transmission 18, and the front axle is driven by means of an electrical motor 20. Consequently, the torque vectoring device 16 is arranged at the front axle. Figs. 3 and 4 show configurations where the front axle 12 or the rear axle 14 is driven by an electrical motor 20, wherein the torque vectoring device 16 is arranged at the driven axle 12, 14. As a further example, Fig. 5 shows a configuration in which the front axle 12 and the rear axle 14 are driven by electrical motors 20.

    [0025] With reference to Fig. 6, a basic setup of a torque vectoring device 100 is shown. A driving axle 110 of a vehicle is driven by means of a transmission 120 and has two wheels 112a, 112b connected to opposite ends of the axle 110. The transmission 120 is coupled to a differential mechanism 130 for allowing the wheels 112a, 112b to rotate at different velocities. An electrical motor 140 is connected to the differential mechanism 130, for providing a torque difference to opposite ends of the axle 110. A control means 150 is further connected to the electrical motor 140, and configured to calculate and transmit control signals to the electrical motor 140.

    [0026] When the vehicle is travelling on a straight course, both wheels 112a, 112b will rotate at the same speed. In this situation, the electrical motor 140 will stand still. When the vehicle passes a surface having inhomogeneous friction, the torque vectoring device 100 may be used to enhance the traction potential of the driving axle 110. In such cases, the control means 150 sends a signal to the electrical motor 140 that will activate and apply a torque. Upon this, an increase of torque will be provided to one of the ends of the axle 110, and a corresponding torque decrease will be provided to the opposite end of the axle 110.

    [0027] An embodiment of a torque vectoring device is shown in Fig. 7. An electrical propulsion motor 200 transmits torque from a rotating shaft 202 to a driving axle 210 via gears 204, 205, 206, 207, 208. The driving axle 210 has a central portion 212, and first and second drive shafts 214, 216. The central portion 212 is connected to the first and second drive shafts 214, 216 by means of two planetary gears 220a, 220b. The central portion 212 is connected to sun gears 222, and the first drive shaft 214 and the second drive shaft 216 are connected to a plurality of planet gears 224. A ring gear 226 is provided with teeth on its outer surface, for engagement with a torque vectoring motor 230. The torque vectoring motor 230 is an electrical motor, which upon activation transmits a rotation to a rotating shaft 240 via an axis 232 and gears 234, 236. The rotating shaft 240 extends along the axis of the axle 210, and has a first gear 242 that is engaged with the ring gear 226 of the first planetary gear 220a, and a second gear 244 that is engaged with the ring gear of the second planetary gear 220b via an intermediate gear 246. When the torque vectoring motor 230 is activated, the motor 230 will provide a torque. Consequently, if the torque vectoring motor 230 is rotating, which will be determined by the actual state of the vehicle, opposite rotation of the ring gears 226 will be induced. Hence, an increase of torque is provided to one of the drive shafts 214, 216, and a decrease of torque is provided to the other of said drive shafts 214, 216 via the planetary gears 220a, 220b.

    [0028] Optionally, the electrical propulsion motor 200 may be arranged on the central portion 212 of the driving axle 210. However, if the propulsion motor 200 is arranged at a distance from the axle 210 a number of advantages are obtained. For example, such arrangement will facilitate implementation of a mechanical disconnect functionality of the propulsion motor 200 which will be described in more detail later. Moreover, the planetary gears 220a, 220b can be made smaller as they do not need to correspond to the dimensions of the propulsion motor 200. A further advantage is that the cooling of the axle 210 is simplified, since access is readily allowed if the propulsion motor 200 is located at a distance from the axle 210.

    [0029] Another embodiment of a torque vectoring device is shown in Fig. 8. An electrical motor (not shown) transmits torque to a driving axle 310 via a differential unit 320. The torque is equally distributed between a first and a second drive shaft 314, 316 by the differential unit 320. The first drive shaft 314 is provided with a gear 318 having outer teeth and being arranged to rotate about the same central axis as the first drive shaft 314. The second drive shaft 316 is provided with a gear 319 having outer teeth and being arranged to rotate about the same central axis as the second drive shaft 316.

    [0030] A torque vectoring motor 330 is provided to transfer torque from the first drive shaft 314 to the second drive shaft 316, or vice versa. The torque vectoring motor 330 is connected to the sun gear 342 of a planetary gear 340. The ring gear 346 is connected to the first drive shaft 314 by the gears 318, 348. Further, a planetary carrier 344 is connected to the second drive shaft 316 by means of a shaft 350 and gears 319, 349.

    [0031] When the torque vectoring motor 330 is activated, the motor 330 will provide opposite torque to the gears 318, 319. Hence, an increase of torque is provided to one of the drive shafts 314, 316, and a decrease of torque is provided to the other of said drive shafts 314, 316 via the planetary gear set 340.

    [0032] If the gear ratios of the gears 318, 348, and 319, 349, respectively, are matched to the gear ratio of the planetary gear set 340, the torque vectoring motor 330 will be standing still when the first and second drive shafts 314, 316 have equal rotational speed. If so, the following condition must be fulfilled:

    where
    i1 is the gear ratio between the gears 318, 348, i2 is the gear ratio between the gears 319, 349, r01 and r02 are the reference radii of the planetary gear set 340. The above parameters may be chosen to achieve reasonable speed and torque requirements on the torque vectoring motor. For example, in a particular configuration i1 is set to 3, i2 is 2,67, r01 is 8, and r02 is 28.

    [0033] In any of the embodiments mentioned, the torque vectoring motor 230, 330 may be a variable speed reversible electrical motor.

    [0034] As is shown in Figs. 7 and 8, the torque vectoring motor 230, 330 may be connected to a device 260, 360 providing mechanical protection against overload in transient vehicle conditions, such as ESP intervention. An automatic clutch 260, 360 is thus provided to disconnect the torque vectoring motor 230, 330 when the rotational speed exceeds a predetermined de-clutch limit. An example of such automatic clutch 260, 360 is presented in Fig. 9. The automatic clutch 260, 360 has a clutch drum 265 connected to the shaft 240, 350 and at least two lever arms 263 being connected to the drum 265 by pivot joints 262. A hub 261 is connected to the motor 230, 330 such that rotational speeds below the de-clutch limit are transferred from the hub 261 to the drum 265 via the friction between the lever arms 263 and the hub 261. When the rotational speed reaches the de-clutch limit, the centrifugal force acting on the lever arms 263 will exceed a spring force, and no torque can thus be transferred. Hence, the centrifugal clutch 260, 360 will disconnect the torque vectoring motor 230, 330 at a certain rotational speed to protect it from over speeding. In another example, the control means 150, 420, 430, 440 is configured to cause automatic decoupling of the clutch 260, 360 based on an analysis of at least one of the plurality of variables 442, 444 representing the current vehicle state. For example, automatic decoupling of the clutch 260, 360 may be based on an analysis of the rotational speed of the electrical motor 230, 330, wherein the rotational speed is measured by at least one sensor providing the measured value as one of the variables 442, 444.

    [0035] In a yet further embodiment, a mechanical disconnect unit of a propulsion motor 200 is provided. Such disconnect unit can be adapted to disconnect the propulsion motor at a certain speed by either a centrifugal disconnect unit similar to the clutch described with reference to Fig. 9, or e.g. by a dog clutch or a limited slip clutch being controlled by a microprocessor. Depending on the specific type of the propulsion motor, there may be high losses at high speeds coming from drag torque and field weakening. By disconnecting the propulsion motor, such losses can be minimized and hence the fuel saving potential may be maximized. When the propulsion motor is disconnected, the torque vectoring motor may still be used and thus always be utilized to influence vehicle stability. In a specific embodiment, the control means 150, 420, 430, 440 is configured to cause automatic actuation of the mechanical disconnect unit based on an analysis of at least one of said plurality of variables 442, 444 representing the current vehicle state, so as to disconnect the propulsion motor 20, 200, 400 from the axle 110, 210, 310, 402.

    [0036] A speed gear may be arranged between the propulsion motor 200 and the driving axle 110, 210, 310. The speed gear, such as a transmission known per se, is thus used for converting the speed and torque of the propulsion motor. This is advantageous in that the electrical propulsion motor 200 is allowed to operate at its optimum speed interval, thus reducing the overall energy consumption of the vehicle.

    [0037] For all embodiments described so far, it is assumed that the torque vectoring motor 230, 330 receives control signals from a control means arranged within the vehicle. The control means is configured to receive a plurality of vehicle variables and to determine a corresponding output signal that is transmitted to the torque vectoring motor. For example, the control means comprises a vehicle network communication interface configured to collect the plurality of vehicle variables, a controller configured to receive said vehicle variables and calculate the output signal, and a power electronics unit configured supply drive currents to the electrical motor in response to the output signal for controlling the energy flow between an electrical power source and the electrical motor. The electrical power source may for example be an electrical accumulator like a battery or fuel cell, or an electrical generator. In one particular embodiment, in which the torque vectoring device 100, 200, 300 is implemented in a vehicle being at least partly driven by a combustion engine, the electrical power source may be a generator driven by said combustion engine. In a further embodiment, the generator may be driven by a separate combustion engine. However, in the embodiment described in the following paragraphs, the electrical power source is an electrical accumulator.

    [0038] A description of how a torque vectoring device according to any of the embodiments referred to above may be applied in a modern road vehicle, such as a car (automobile), will now follow with reference to Fig. 10. As seen in Fig. 10, a car 400 comprises a first axle 402 which is driven by a first axle drive mechanism 404. As is well known per se, a differential mechanism 406 on the first axle 402 allows a left drive shaft 402L of the first axle 402, and a left wheel 408L mounted thereon, to rotate at a different speed than a right drive shaft 402R of the first axle 402, and a right wheel 408R mounted thereon. A torque vectoring motor 410 - which for instance may be implemented by the electrical motor 140, 230 or 330 referred to above - is arranged to provide a torque increase 411I on one of the drive shafts 402L, 402R and a corresponding torque decrease 411D on the other one of the drive shafts 402R, 402L, as has already been explained with reference to the previous drawings. In Fig. 10, the torque increase 411I is applied to the left drive shaft 402L, whereas the torque decrease 411D is applied to the right drive shaft 402R. However, by reversing the rotation of the torque vectoring motor 410, the situation will be the opposite.

    [0039] The torque vectoring motor 410 is driven by drive currents 412 which are supplied from an electrical power source in the form of an accumulator 424 via a power electronics unit 420. In turn, the power electronics unit 420 is controlled by means of one or more control signals 422 from a torque vectoring controller 430. The amplitude and polarity of the drive currents 412 will determine the rotational speed and direction of the torque vectoring motor 410 and, consequently, the magnitude and direction of the torque increase/decrease 411I/411D applied to the left and right drive shafts 402L, 402R.

    [0040] Like any electrical machine, the torque vectoring motor 410 may not only act as a motor but may also be driven as a generator to transform mechanical energy from the rotation of the first axle 402 into electrical energy to be received and stored in the accumulator 424. This may advantageously be used for regenerative braking in order to reduce the electrical energy consumption of the vehicle and to extend the recharging periodicity of the accumulator 424. To this end, the power electronics unit 420 is adapted to closely control the flow of electrical energy from the accumulator 424 to the torque vectoring motor 410 (when operating as a motor), and to the accumulator 424 from the torque vectoring motor 410 (when operating as a generator), respectively. The power electronics unit 420 therefore comprises high-efficiency solid-state circuitry capable of accurate control of the drive currents 412 to the torque vectoring motor 410 (motor case), and of the generated currents fed to the accumulator 424 (generator case). Accurate control is particularly important in the latter case, since the capacity, life-time and safety of the accumulator 424 (for instance in the form of one or more state-of-the-art, high-energy lithium batteries) may otherwise be jeopardized.

    [0041] In embodiments of the vehicle 400, the first axle drive mechanism 404, too, may comprise an electrical motor. In such a case, also this electrical motor 404 may be driven by drive currents 414 from the power electronics unit 420, and, conversely, also the electrical motor 404 may be used as a generator for charging the accumulator 424 under the control of the power electronics unit 420.

    [0042] As already mentioned, the power electronics unit 420 is in turn controlled by means of one or more control signals 422 from the torque vectoring controller 430. The torque vectoring controller 430, which may be identical to the aforementioned control means 150, is preferably implemented as a microprocessor (PLC, CPU, DSP) or another suitable processing device technology, such as FPGA or ASIC, or any other suitable digital and/or analogue circuitry capable of performing the intended tasks. In order to be able to exercise the control of the torque vectoring motor 410 and generate the control signals 422, the torque vectoring controller 430 is programmed or otherwise provided with electrical motor control functionality 432.

    [0043] The electrical motor control functionality 432 of the torque vectoring controller 430 is capable of real-time calculation of various control variables, which in turn determine the control signals 422, based on the current vehicle state. To this end, vehicle state data in the form of a plurality of external vehicle variables 442 is collected by a plurality of sensors distributed across the vehicle. The external vehicle variables 442 are continuously broadcasted on a vehicle communication network 440 and are therefore made accessible to the electrical motor control functionality 432 via this network. The vehicle communication network 440 may for instance be compliant with an industry standard protocol such as CAN ("Controller Area Network") and/or FlexRay.

    [0044] In addition, vehicle state data in the form of vehicle state variables 444 may also be also received by the electrical motor control functionality 432 over the network 440. Such vehicle state variables 444 may be produced by other units in the vehicle, such as by a main electronic control unit (ECU) 450, an anti-lock braking system (ABS) 452 or an electronic stability program (ESP) 454. The ECU 450, ABS 452 and ESP 454 may be provided for the purpose of controlling a second drive axle 462 having its own axle drive mechanism 464 (such as a combustion engine, for instance), differential mechanism 466 and pair of wheels 468L, 468R. By receiving and using such vehicle state variables 444 from other units in the vehicle, the electrical motor control functionality 432 may make sure that the torque vectoring motor 410 (and first axle drive mechanism 404, when being an electrical motor) is optimally driven in view of energy consumption, service life, vehicle stability, traction performance, and driving safety.

    [0045] Conversely, using the vehicle communication network 440, the torque vectoring controller 430 may be adapted to inform or instruct other units in the vehicle concerning control decisions it has made for the torque vectoring motor 410 (and the first axle drive mechanism 404, when being an electrical motor). For instance, the control of the second axle drive mechanism 464 in the form of a combustion engine may benefit from taking such information or instructions into account, since it may reduce the fuel consumption. Further, the ESP functionality 454 may be improved and made more accurate by this kind of data from the torque vectoring controller 430.

    [0046] Thus, by controlling a torque vectoring system together with other systems, for example ESP 454, synergic effects can be reached. A torque vectoring system can be controlled at lower differential speeds, smoother and more accurately than an ESP can control by using the engine and brake system. Therefore control signal(s) can be broadcasted to the ESP 454, informing about actions performed by the torque vectoring system or requesting a performance from the ESP system.

    [0047] For optimal fuel consumption in a hybrid vehicle the engine and the electrical driven axle should be controlled in a manner to reach minimum fuel consumption. This can be done by having an optimization controller in the electronic module in the electrical axle broadcasting signals requesting action from the engine or sending a request from the engine controller to the electrical axle.

    [0048] Examples of control variables provided to and/or calculated by the electrical motor control functionality 432 from the received vehicle state data 442, 444 may include driver's acceleration or deceleration request (i.e. acceleration or brake pedal position), wheel speeds, steering wheel angle, yaw rate, lateral acceleration, estimated vehicle speed, actual tire slip values, road friction utilization, level of over/under steer, and engine/motor torque and speed (for axle drive mechanism 404 or 464). The electrical motor control functionality 432 may preferably be divided into a plurality of control programs 433a...433e. Each control program is designed to control a respective aspect of the driving dynamics of the vehicle by appropriately calculating torque requests to the torque vectoring motor 410, as represented by the control signals 422 to the power electronics unit 420, so that the torque vectoring motor 410 will be actuated accordingly to obtain the desired change in torque distribution between the left and right drive shafts 402L, 402R. As seen in Fig. 10, non-limiting examples of control programs included in the electrical motor control functionality 432 are: Vehicle stability 433a, Traction performance 433b, Regenerative braking 433c, Hybrid control 433d, and Yaw damping 433e. In the disclosed embodiment, all or at least some of these control programs 433a...433e are executed in parallel to each other. In other words, the torque vectoring controller 430 is capable of running the control programs 433a...433e in a multi-tasking manner. Having a plurality of concurrently running control programs 433a...433e provides a broad, flexible and extensive control of the driving dynamics of the vehicle, which truly is of a complex nature.

    [0049] In addition to the electrical motor control functionality 432, the torque vectoring controller 430 is programmed or otherwise provided with arbitration functionality 434 and safety/diagnostics functionality 436.

    [0050] The purpose of the arbitration functionality 434 is to handle situations where torque requests are made concurrently from different ones of the control programs 433a...433e. Since each control program determines its torque requests in consideration of the particular needs that the program in question is tasked to handle, there will be situations where two or more concurrent torque requests are not mutually compatible and cannot all be granted. The arbitration functionality 434 is designed to prioritize among such concurrent requests and to permit, combine or inhibit each individual request as deemed most appropriate. Hence, the arbitration functionality 434 will prevent potentially dangerous situations from occurring when concurrent torque requests are in conflict with each other, without unduly restricting the operability of each individual control program. The arbitration functionality 434 may alternatively or additionally be designed to receive and act upon arbitration instructions from another unit in the vehicle (such as main ECU 450), instead of making the arbitration decisions itself. Furthermore, when the first axle drive mechanism 404 comprises an electrical motor driven by drive currents 414 from the power electronics unit 420, the arbitration functionality 434 may advantageously be adapted to handle arbitration also for requests directed to the electrical motor 404.

    [0051] The purpose of the safety/diagnostics functionality 436 is to handle errors among incoming vehicle state data 442, 444, for instance plausibility checks and offset compensations. Moreover, the safety/diagnostics functionality 436 supervises the status and operation of the torque vectoring motor 410, power electronic unit 420, accumulator 424 as well as the torque vectoring controller 430 itself, and is designed to broadcast diagnostic information to other units in the vehicle (for instance main ECU 450).

    [0052] The control according to the invention may be implemented in any suitable form including hardware, software, firmware or any combination of these. However, preferably, the control according to the invention is implemented as computer software running on one or more data processors and/or digital signal processors.

    [0053] In the claims, the term "comprises/comprising" does not exclude the presence of other elements or steps. Furthermore, although individually listed, a plurality of means, elements or method steps may be implemented by e.g. a single unit or processor.

    [0054] With reference to Figs. 7 and 8, the following modifications are possible for providing a torque vectoring device according to the further inventive concept presented above. The torque generating unit, i.e. the brake or the clutch, may be arranged on the shaft 232 (Fig. 7) or 342 (Fig. 8) instead of or in line with the electrical motor 230, 330. As the torque generating unit is also connected to a stationary portion, the rotational speed of the shaft 232, 342 may be reduced. If the electrical motor 230, 330 is replaced, the clutch 260, 360 may also be removed since there is no longer a need for limiting the rotational speed.

    [0055] A viscous coupling unit may provide a braking torque that is dependent on the rotational speed of the shaft 232, 242. A dog clutch may provide a binary disconnect or connect coupling, i.e. the shaft 232, 242 is either free to rotate or locked. A friction brake or a disc clutch may provide continuous control of the torque.

    [0056] For all such torque generating units, the rotational speed of the shaft 232, 242 may only be reduced or eliminated. Consequently, the differential rotational speed between the wheels of the vehicle may only be reduced or eliminated. This is contrary to the functionality when an electrical motor is implemented, which allows for increase of differential rotational speed between a first drive shaft and a second drive shaft.

    [0057] However, a torque generating unit such as a brake or a clutch may be implemented together with a torque vectoring motor. In such embodiment, the device may provide a braking torque being higher than the capability of the electrical motor alone.


    Claims

    1. A device for torque vectoring in a wheeled vehicle, comprising
    a differential mechanism (320) comprising a differential arranged on an axle (310) having a first drive shaft (314) and a second drive shaft (316), wherein the first drive shaft (314) is provided with a gear (318) having outer teeth and being arranged to rotate about the same central axis as the first drive shaft (314), and the second drive shaft (316) is provided with a gear (319) having outer teeth and being arranged to rotate about the same central axis as the second drive shaft (316),
    an electrical power source connected to an electrical motor (330), said electrical motor (330) being connectable to said axle (310) for torque vectoring between said first drive shaft (314) and said second drive shaft (316), characterized in that
    said electrical motor (330) is connected to said first drive shaft (314) and said second drive shaft (316) by means of a planetary gear set (340) such that when the torque vectoring motor (330) is activated, the motor (330) will provide opposite torque to the gears (318, 319) by providing an increase of torque to one of the drive shafts (314, 316), and providing a decrease of torque to the other of said drive shafts (314, 316) via the planetary gear set (340), wherein
    said electrical motor (330) is driving a sun gear (342), said first drive shaft (314) is connected to a ring gear (346), and wherein said second drive shaft (316) is connected to planetary gears (344), the device comprising control means connected to said power source and configured to receive a plurality of variables representing the current vehicle state and to determine drive currents being dependent on said variables, wherein
    said drive currents are supplied to said electrical motor (330) from said power source for introducing a torque increase to either one of said first or second drive shafts (314, 316) and a corresponding torque decrease to the other one of said first or second drive shafts (314, 316).
     
    2. The device according to claim 1, wherein said electrical power source comprises an accumulator, and wherein said control means comprises
    a vehicle communication network configured to collect the plurality of variables,
    a controller configured to receive said variables and calculate one or more control signals, and
    a power electronics unit configured to receive said one or more control signals and to control the energy flow between the accumulator and the electrical motor (330) by supplying said drive currents via the accumulator.
     
    3. The device according to claim 1 or 2, further comprising an electrical propulsion motor arranged to drive said axle (310).
     
    4. The device according to claim 3, wherein said electrical propulsion motor is arranged at said axle such that a rotor of said electrical propulsion motor is rotating around the axis of said axle.
     
    5. The device according to claim 1, wherein the electrical motor (330) is connected to a clutch (360) configured to decouple the rotational axis of the electrical motor (330) from said differential mechanism (320).
     
    6. The device according to claim 5, wherein the clutch (360) is automatically decoupled when the rotational speed of said clutch (360) is exceeding a predetermined threshold value.
     
    7. The device according to claim 5, wherein said control means is configured to cause automatic decoupling of said clutch (360) based on an analysis of at least one of said plurality of variables representing the current vehicle state.
     
    8. The device according to claim 3, wherein said propulsion motor is connected to a mechanical disconnect unit configured to disconnect the propulsion motor from said axle (310).
     
    9. The device according to claim 8, wherein said control means is configured to cause automatic actuation of said mechanical disconnect unit based on an analysis of at least one of said plurality of variables representing the current vehicle state, so as to disconnect the propulsion motor from said axle (310).
     
    10. The device according to claim 2 and 3, wherein said power electronics unit is further configured to control the energy flow between the accumulator and the propulsion motor by supplying drive currents to said propulsion motor via the accumulator.
     
    11. The device according to claim 10, wherein said power electronics unit is further configured to allow reverse energy flow for charging the accumulator during braking of the vehicle.
     
    12. The device according to claim 1, wherein said controller is configured to execute a plurality of control programs, each control program being designed to control a respective aspect of the driving dynamics of the vehicle by appropriately calculating torque requests to said electrical motor (330), as represented by said one or more control signals to the power electronics unit, based on said plurality of variables representing the current vehicle state.
     
    13. The device according to claim 12, wherein said controller further comprises arbitration functionality configured to handle concurrent torque requests from different ones of said control programs by prioritizing among such concurrent requests and permitting, combining or inhibiting each individual concurrent torque request as deemed most appropriate.
     


    Ansprüche

    1. Vorrichtung für Torque-Vectoring bzw. Drehmomentverteilung in einem mit Rädern versehenen Fahrzeug, welche Folgendes aufweist:

    einen Differentialmechanismus (320), der ein Differential aufweist, welches auf einer Achse (310) mit einer ersten Antriebswelle (314) und einer zweiten Antriebswelle (316) angeordnet ist,

    wobei die erste Antriebswelle (314) mit einem Zahnrad (318) versehen ist, welches äußere Zähne hat und so angeordnet ist, dass es sich um die gleiche Mittelachse dreht wie die erste Antriebswelle (314) und wobei die zweite Antriebswelle (316) mit einem Zahnrad (319) versehen ist, welches äußere Zähne hat und so angeordnet ist, dass es sich um die gleiche Mittelachse dreht, wie die zweite Antriebswelle (316),

    eine elektrische Antriebsquelle, die mit einem Elektromotor (330) verbunden ist, wobei der Elektromotor (330) mit der Achse (310) für Torque-Vectoring bzw. Drehmomentverteilung zwischen der ersten Antriebswelle (314) und der zweiten Antriebswelle (316) verbindbar ist,

    dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass

    der Elektromotor (330) mit der ersten Antriebswelle (314) und der zweiten Antriebswelle (316) mittels eines Planetengetriebesatzes (340) so verbunden ist, dass, wenn der Torque-Vectoring- bzw. Drehmomentverteilungsmotor (330) aktiviert wird, der Motor (330) entgegengesetztes Drehmoment zu den Zahnrädern (318, 319) liefern wird, indem er eine Vergrößerung des Drehmomentes zu einer der Antriebswellen (314, 316) vorsieht, und eine Verringerung des Drehmomentes zu der anderen der Antriebswellen (314, 316) vorsieht, und zwar über den Planetengetriebesatz (340),

    der Elektromotor (330) ein Sonnenrad (342) antreibt, wobei die erste Antriebswelle (314) mit einem Hohlrad (346) verbunden ist, und wobei die zweite Antriebswelle (316) mit Planetenrädern (344) verbunden ist, wobei die Vorrichtung Folgendes aufweist:

    Steuermittel, die mit der Antriebsquelle verbunden sind und konfiguriert sind, um eine Vielzahl von Variablen zu empfangen, welche den gegenwärtigen Fahrzeugzustand darstellen, und um Antriebsströme zu bestimmen, die von diesen Variablen abhängig sind,

    wobei die Antriebsströme zu dem Elektromotor (330) von der Antriebsquelle zum Einleiten einer Drehmomentvergrößerung zu einer der ersten oder zweiten Antriebswellen (314, 316) und eine entsprechende Drehmomentverringerung zu der anderen der ersten oder zweiten Antriebswellen (314, 316) einzuleiten.


     
    2. Vorrichtung nach Anspruch 1, wobei die elektrische Leistungsquelle einen Akkumulator aufweist, und wobei die Steuermittel Folgendes aufweisen:

    ein Fahrzeugkommunikationsnetzwerk, welches konfiguriert ist, um die Vielzahl von Variablen zu sammeln,

    eine Steuervorrichtung, die konfiguriert ist, um die Variablen zu empfangen und ein oder mehrere Steuersignale zu berechnen, und

    eine Leistungselektronikeinheit, die konfiguriert ist, um das eine oder die mehreren Steuersignale zu empfangen und den Energiefluss zwischen dem Akkumulator und dem Elektromotor (330) zu steuern, indem die Antriebsströme über den Akkumulator geliefert werden.


     
    3. Vorrichtung nach Anspruch 1 oder 2, die weiter einen elektrischen Antriebsmotor aufweist, der angeordnet ist, um die Achse (310) anzutreiben.
     
    4. Vorrichtung nach Anspruch 3, wobei der elektrische Antriebsmotor an der Achse so angeordnet ist, dass ein Rotor des elektrischen Antriebsmotors sich um die Achse der Achse dreht.
     
    5. Vorrichtung nach Anspruch 1, wobei der Elektromotor (330) mit einer Kupplung (360) verbunden ist, die konfiguriert ist, um die Drehachse bzw. sich drehende Achse des Elektromotors (330) von dem Differentialmechanismus (320) zu entkoppeln.
     
    6. Vorrichtung nach Anspruch 5, wobei die Kupplung (360) automatisch ausgekuppelt bzw. getrennt wird, wenn die Drehzahl der Kupplung (360) einen vorbestimmten Schwellenwert überschreitet.
     
    7. Vorrichtung nach Anspruch 5, wobei die Steuermittel konfiguriert sind, um ein automatisches Auskuppeln bzw. Trennen der Kupplung (360) basierend auf einer Analyse von mindestens einer der Vielzahl von Variablen zu bewirken, welche den gegenwärtigen Fahrzeugzustand darstellen.
     
    8. Vorrichtung nach Anspruch 3, wobei der Antriebsmotor mit einer mechanischen Trennungseinheit verbunden ist, die konfiguriert ist, um den Antriebsmotor von der Achse (310) zu trennen.
     
    9. Vorrichtung nach Anspruch 8, wobei die Steuermittel konfiguriert sind, um eine automatische Betätigung der mechanischen Trennungseinheit basierend auf einer Analyse von mindestens einer der Vielzahl von Variablen zu bewirken, welche den gegenwärtigen Fahrzeugzustand darstellen, um den Antriebsmotor von der Achse (310) zu trennen.
     
    10. Vorrichtung nach Anspruch 2 und 3, wobei die Leistungselektronikeinheit weiter konfiguriert ist, um den Energiefluss zwischen dem Akkumulator und dem Antriebsmotor durch Liefern von Antriebsströmen zu dem Antriebsmotor über den Akkumulator zu steuern.
     
    11. Vorrichtung nach Anspruch 10, wobei die Leistungselektronikeinheit weiter konfiguriert ist, um einen umgekehrten Energiefluss zum Laden des Akkumulators während des Bremsens des Fahrzeugs zu gestatten.
     
    12. Vorrichtung nach Anspruch 1, wobei die Steuervorrichtung konfiguriert ist, um eine Vielzahl von Steuerprogrammen auszuführen, wobei jedes Steuerprogramm so ausgelegt ist, dass es einen entsprechenden Aspekt der Antriebsdynamik des Fahrzeugs steuert, und zwar durch geeignete Berechnung von Drehmomentanforderungen an den Elektromotor (330), wie durch das eine oder die mehreren Steuersignale an die Leistungselektronikeinheit dargestellt, und zwar basierend auf der Vielzahl von Variablen, welche den gegenwärtigen Fahrzeugzustand darstellen.
     
    13. Vorrichtung nach Anspruch 12, wobei die Steuervorrichtung weiter eine Entscheidungsfunktionalität aufweist, die konfiguriert ist, um gleichzeitige Drehmomentanforderungen von unterschiedlichen Steuerprogrammen handzuhaben, indem unter solchen gleichzeitigen Anforderungen eine Priorität gegeben wird, und durch Gestatten, Kombinieren oder Verhindern von jeder einzelnen gleichzeitigen Drehmomentanfrage, wie dies am geeignetsten erscheint.
     


    Revendications

    1. Dispositif de vectorisation de couple pour un véhicule à roues, comprenant
    un mécanisme de différentiel (320) comprenant un différentiel disposé sur un essieu (310) comportant un premier arbre de transmission (314) et un second arbre de transmission (316), dans lequel
    le premier arbre de transmission (314) est pourvu d'une roue dentée (318) comportant des dents extérieures et disposée pour tourner autour du même axe central que le premier arbre de transmission (314), et le second arbre de transmission (316) est pourvu d'une roue dentée (319) comportant des dents extérieures et disposée pour tourner autour du même axe central que le second arbre de transmission (316),
    une source de puissance électrique connectée à un moteur électrique (330), ledit moteur électrique (330) pouvant être mis en prise avec ledit essieu (310) à des fins de vectorisation de couple entre ledit premier arbre de transmission (314) et ledit second arbre de transmission (316),
    caractérisé en ce que
    ledit moteur électrique (330) est en prise avec ledit premier arbre de transmission (314) et avec ledit second arbre de transmission (316) au moyen d'un train planétaire (340) de sorte que, lorsque le moteur de vectorisation de couple (330) est activé, le moteur (330) fournira un couple opposé aux roues dentées (318, 319) par une fourniture d'une augmentation de couple à l'un des arbres de transmission (314, 316), et par une fourniture d'une diminution de couple à l'autre desdits arbres de transmission (314, 316) par le biais du train planétaire (340), dans lequel
    ledit moteur électrique (330) entraîne un planétaire interne (342), ledit premier arbre de transmission (314) est en prise avec une couronne dentée (346), et dans lequel ledit second arbre de transmission (316) est en prise avec des satellites (344), le dispositif comprenant
    un moyen de commande connecté à ladite source de puissance et configuré pour recevoir une pluralité de variables représentant l'état de véhicule courant et pour déterminer des courants de pilotage en fonction desdites variables, dans lequel
    lesdits courants de pilotage sont appliqués audit moteur électrique (330) à partir de ladite source de puissance pour communiquer une augmentation de couple à l'un ou l'autre desdits premier ou second arbres de transmission (314, 316) et une diminution de couple correspondante à l'autre desdits premier ou second arbres de transmission (314, 316).
     
    2. Dispositif selon la revendication 1, dans lequel ladite source de puissance électrique comprend un accumulateur, et dans lequel ledit moyen de commande comprend
    un réseau de communication de véhicule configuré pour collecter la pluralité de variables,
    un contrôleur configuré pour recevoir lesdites variables et pour calculer un ou plusieurs signaux de commande, et
    une unité d'électronique de puissance configurée pour recevoir ledit ou lesdits signaux de commande et pour commander le flux d'énergie entre l'accumulateur et le moteur électrique (330) en fournissant lesdits courants de pilotage par le biais de l'accumulateur.
     
    3. Dispositif selon la revendication 1 ou 2, comprenant en outre un moteur de propulsion électrique conçu pour entraîner ledit essieu (310).
     
    4. Dispositif selon la revendication 3, dans lequel ledit moteur de propulsion électrique est disposé au niveau dudit essieu de sorte qu'un rotor dudit moteur de propulsion électrique tourne autour de l'axe dudit essieu.
     
    5. Dispositif selon la revendication 1, dans lequel le moteur électrique (330) est accouplé à un embrayage (360) configuré pour désaccoupler l'axe de rotation du moteur électrique (330) dudit mécanisme de différentiel (320) .
     
    6. Dispositif selon la revendication 5, dans lequel l'embrayage (360) est automatiquement désaccouplé lorsque la vitesse de rotation dudit embrayage (360) dépasse une valeur seuil prédéterminée.
     
    7. Dispositif selon la revendication 5, dans lequel ledit moyen de commande est configuré pour provoquer un désaccouplement automatique dudit embrayage (360) sur la base d'une analyse d'au moins une variable de ladite pluralité de variables représentant l'état de véhicule courant.
     
    8. Dispositif selon la revendication 3, dans lequel ledit moteur de propulsion est accouplé à une unité de désaccouplement mécanique configurée pour désaccoupler le moteur de propulsion dudit essieu (310).
     
    9. Dispositif selon la revendication 8, dans lequel ledit moyen de commande est configuré pour provoquer une activation automatique de ladite unité de désaccouplement mécanique sur la base d'une analyse d'au moins une variable de ladite pluralité de variables représentant l'état de véhicule courant, de façon à désaccoupler le moteur de propulsion dudit essieu (310).
     
    10. Dispositif selon les revendications 2 et 3, dans lequel ladite unité d'électronique de puissance est en outre configurée pour commander le flux d'énergie entre l'accumulateur et le moteur de propulsion en appliquant des courants de pilotage audit moteur de propulsion par le biais de l'accumulateur.
     
    11. Dispositif selon la revendication 10, dans lequel ladite unité d'électronique de puissance est en outre configurée pour permettre d'inverser le flux d'énergie à des fins de charge de l'accumulateur pendant un freinage du véhicule.
     
    12. Dispositif selon la revendication 1, dans lequel ledit contrôleur est configuré pour exécuter une pluralité de programmes de commande, chaque programme de commande étant conçu pour commander un aspect respectif de la dynamique d'entraînement du véhicule par un calcul approprié de demande de couple dudit moteur électrique (330), telle que représentée par ledit ou lesdits signaux de commande appliqués à l'unité d'électronique de puissance, sur la base de ladite pluralité de variables représentant l'état de véhicule courant.
     
    13. Dispositif selon la revendication 12, dans lequel ledit contrôleur comprend en outre une fonctionnalité d'arbitrage configurée pour gérer des demandes de couple concurrentes de programmes différents desdits programmes de commande par attribution d'une priorité entre ces demandes concurrentes et par autorisation, combinaison ou interdiction de chaque demande de couple concurrente individuelle en fonction de ce qui est le plus approprié.
     




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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