Electric drive simulator

Opal-RT Technologies has unveiled its new RT-LAB Electric Drive Simulator at a press conference at EVS-20, the 20th International Electric Vehicle Symposium and Exposition, which is currently taking place in Long Beach, CA.

The RT-LAB Electric Drive Simulator is an integrated software and hardware solution for engineers designing electric and hybrid-electric vehicles. Based on Opal-RT’s RT-LAB technology and using PC-based software and hardware components, the RT-LAB Electric Drive Simulator provides a hard-real-time platform for the simulation of all mechanical, electrical, and control system aspects of vehicle behaviour.

In use, it allows design engineers to accelerate the design process through virtual-prototyping with simulation using dynamic models, thereby reducing prototype construction and testing costs.

‘Using the RT-LAB Electric Drive Simulator, design engineers can not only conduct Hardware-In-the-Loop (HIL) testing of dynamic models of electric drives, but also merge these models with a virtual prototype of the entire vehicle. The end result is a reduction in the duration and cost of the real prototyping stage and of the overall design process,’ said Paul Goossens, Opal-RT Technologies’ Vice President of Marketing.

The RT-LAB Electric Drive Simulator uses a cluster of low-cost PCs – incorporating off-the-shelf technologies and FPGA-based reconfigurable I/O. The PC cluster can simulate electric power converters and drives, using HIL testing, down to the detailed switching of the power electronic switches (IGBT, GTO) with PWM carrier frequencies of up to 10 kHz, at time steps down to 10 usec. With real-time interpolation of switching events, the simulator can achieve a firing-pulse resolution of 10 nsec.

Fully integrated with Simulink and the simPowerSystem Blockset, the RT-LAB Electric Drive Simulator is based on parallel processing technologies that allow the design engineer to distribute complex models over several computation targets, running either the QNX or RedHawk Linux RTOS, while transparently handling all synchronisation, inter-processor data communication and signal I/O. This makes the RT-LAB Electric Drive Simulator readily scalable, allowing for increased computation power by adding more PC targets to the cluster.

The RT-LAB Electric Drive Simulator is now available, with commercial system pricing starting at $30,000. Special pricing is available where systems are to be used in academic research projects.