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The use of an electric differential (ED) constitutes a technological advance in vehicle design along the concept of more electric vehicles (MEVs). EDs have the advantage of replacing loose and heavy mechanical differentials and transmissions with lighter and smaller electric motors directly coupled to the wheels via a single gear or an in-wheel motor. To date, EDs have been proposed for two- and four-wheeled vehicles. Despite its long reported success and possible advantages in terms of flexibility and direct torque control of the wheels during cornering and risky maneuvers, the ED has several problems that have limited its applicability, for instance, an increment of control loops and an increase of computational effort. Therefore, the main purpose of this paper is to present a simple and easy-to-implement ED that ensures both reliability and good path tracking. The proposed strategy has the advantage of being linear and, therefore, easy to implement. Furthermore, a rigorous proof of stability is presented, and connections with other controllers are discussed. Features and advantages of the proposed scheme are illustrated via numerical simulations in a 4-kW system, which is able to handle 500-kg mass and deliver peak power up to 10 kW during transit periods.
Date of Publication: Sept. 2009