Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Power Jockey

Development Of The Power Jockey

As the HEV battery ages the weaker cells will fail as soon as they are stress beyond their ability to maintain the discharge current. Battery reconditioning mainly replaces the weakest cells and equalises the capacity of all the cells in the battery pack. The next weakest cell will still collapse as it fails to  maintain the discharge current. We have come to a point where unless we find a way to protect the cells from failure we had to stop HEV battery reconditioning altogether.

We need to find another way to help these weakened cells. The answer seem to be in our stress test where we subject the battery sub pack to 100 amps of load. We discarded cells that cannot maintain 5.6 volts. The idea was to prevent the cells from being discharged below this voltage. The most important feature was that it had to be working whenever the car is in use. This lead us to the two phase boost augmentation system.

Everything points to the fact that this can't work because we are just using the petrol engine for the augmentation system and it must surely be more inefficient! However we proceeded to prototype development and trials on a hunch that contary to percieve logic it may work.

The Power Jockey

It is called the Power Jockey because, like a 50kg jockey controlling a 1000kg animal, The Power Jockey only output a mere 1000 watts ( for the prototype) but controls a motor that operates at 33,000 watts.

The system is comprised of two operating phases.
The first is the base voltage support phase. For the prototype this function was performed by a 12 volt 1000 watts inverter outputting 230 volts AC. This phase ensures that the minimum voltage output by the system is 230 volts. At this minimum voltage each sub pack is arrested from dropping below a predefined voltage ( 6 volts in the case of the prototype ) thereby preventing excessive discharge and sub pack failure.

The second is the voltage boost phase. For the prototype this function was taken up by the rectifier and the capacitor which rectified and boost the current to 350 volts DC. Power output between 230 volts and 350 volts “rides” in support of the voltage of the hybrid battery pack. This feature delivers slightly more power to the electric drive. The overall result being to keep the ICE comfortably within it's efficient operating range hence more power and fuel economy.

A distinguishing feature of this invention is that it derives it's power from the vehicle's own (12 volt) charging system. This enable the system to operate independent of any support batteries, as the 12 volt charging system is always on hand whenever the vehicle is operating, The Power Jockey is always “available and working”.

Benefits of the Power Jockey
  1. Overall increase in power to the vehicle as a more efficient electric drive also contributes towards a more powerful ICE motor as both are now working within it's best effective range.
  2. More power leads to better fuel economy. The vehicle engages the silent drive more often. The ICE does not have to labour in the low REV range where it is inefficient. Acceleration is smooth and quick.
  3. Protects the battery sub packs from failure by preventing the battery pack voltage from falling below the critical threshold where the sud packs will be damaged under load.
  4. Allows a weak or even damaged battery pack to work with the vehicle as the parallel voltage tricks the car computer into accepting that the overall battery pack voltage is normal. Holding up the base operating voltage prevents the ICE from disengaging itself from the drive train.
  5. Using power from the vehicle's own charging system, ensures that the Power Jockey is working all the time.
  6. Simplicity of the design and quality component used in it's manufacture ensures that the Power Jockey is robust and reliable.
  7. The unit is small and compact and is easily mounted in the boot of the vehicle occupying very little space.
  8. As the unit only needs to be connected to the battery and the vehicle's charging system installation is a simple matter and can be accomplished by the vehicle's owner although it is recommended this job is done by a professional. Even if installed by a professional it's simplicity means low cost of installation.
  9. Cost of the Power Jockey is low. It is less than a fraction of the cost of a new battery pack replacement and even less than the cost of reconditioning the battery. Vehicle owners can even choose to just replace damage cells in their battery pack which is cheaper than a full battery reconditioning service.
  10. If installed in a new vehicle or with a new battery pack it will extend the life of the battery as the battery pack will have a shallower depth of charge and discharge.
  11. It is conceivable that with the Power Jockey installed the battery pack could last the life of the vehicle purely because the owner can never accidentally or intentionally stress the battery beyond the point where sub pack damage occurs.
  12. Expensive parts such as air flow meters and plugs on coils that have to be changed even with little deterioration in efficiency because loss of power in the ICE quickly leads to battery pack failure as more load is placed on the electric motor. With the Power Jockey installed these expensive parts can be used longer leading to less maintenance cost.
  13. People purchase a hybrid because they save on fuel and as a result it is good for the environment. Their only concern is the cost of battery pack replacement and the reliability of an older battery. With the Power Jockey installed we are confident that this fear can be completely ameliorated.
  14. Once confidence in the reliability of the hybrid vehicle is established these vehicles will have good resale value and many more people will choose to change over to hybrid and electric vehicles which will mean huge savings to the economy and benefits to our environment.
  15. The inverter also allows the vehicle to be used as a generator, when 230 volt AC is required in off grid locations or in the instance of a blackout. When used as a generator the ICE will turn itself on and off automatically.

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