Report on Toyota Prius Motor Thermal Management

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In the current hybrid vehicle market, the Toyota Prius drive system is considered the leader in electrical, mechanical, and manufacturing innovations. It is a significant accomplishment that Toyota is able to manufacture and sell the vehicle for a profit. The Toyota Prius traction motor design approach for reducing manufacturing costs and the motor s torque capability have been studied and tested. The findings were presented in two previous Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) reports. The conclusions from this report reveal, through temperature rise tests, that the 2004 Toyota Prius (THSII) motor is applicable only for use in a hybrid automobile. ... continued below

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Hsu, J.S. February 11, 2005.

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In the current hybrid vehicle market, the Toyota Prius drive system is considered the leader in electrical, mechanical, and manufacturing innovations. It is a significant accomplishment that Toyota is able to manufacture and sell the vehicle for a profit. The Toyota Prius traction motor design approach for reducing manufacturing costs and the motor s torque capability have been studied and tested. The findings were presented in two previous Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) reports. The conclusions from this report reveal, through temperature rise tests, that the 2004 Toyota Prius (THSII) motor is applicable only for use in a hybrid automobile. It would be significantly undersized if used in a fuel cell vehicle application. The power rating of the Prius motor is limited by the permissible temperature rise of the motor winding (170 C) and the motor cooling oil (158 C). The continuous ratings at base speed (1200 rpm) with different coolant temperatures are projected from test data at 900 rpm. They are approximately 15 kW with 105 C coolant and 21 kW with 35 C coolant. These continuous ratings are much lower than the 30 kW specified as a technical motor target of the U.S. Department of Energy FreedomCAR Program. All tests were conducted at about 24 C ambient temperature. The load angle of each torque adjustment was monitored to prevent a sudden stop of the motor if the peak torque were exceeded, as indicated by the load angle in the region greater than 90 electrical degrees. For peak power with 400 Nm torque at 1200 rpm, the permissible running time depends upon the initial winding temperature condition. The projected rate of winding temperature rise is approximately 2.1 C/sec. The cooling-oil temperature does not change much during short peak power operation. For light and medium load situations, the efficiency varies from 80% to above 90%, and the power factor varies from 70% to above 90%, depending on the load and speed. When the motor is loaded heavily near the peak-torque (400-Nm) region, the efficiency goes down to the 40-50% range, and the power factor is nearly 100%. The efficiency is not a major concern at the high-torque region. The water-ethylene-glycol heat exchanger attached to the motor is small. During continuous operation, it dissipates about 76% of the total motor heat loss with 35 C coolant. The heat exchanger is less effective when the coolant temperature increases. With 75 C coolant, the heat exchanger dissipates about 38% of the motor heat. When the coolant temperature is 105 C, the heat exchanger not only stops cooling the motor but also adds heat to the large motor housing that acts as an air-cooled heat sink. From start to the base speed, 400 Nms of torque can be produced by the Prius motor with a reasonably low stator current. However, the permissible running time of the motor depends on the load drawn from the motor and the coolant temperature. In the Toyota Prius hybrid configuration, if the motor gets too hot and cannot keep running, the load can be shifted back to the engine. The motor acts to improve the system efficiency without being overly designed. A detailed thermal model was developed to help predict the temperature levels in key motor components. The model was calibrated and compared with the experimentally measured temperatures. Very good agreement was obtained between model and experiment. This model can now be used to predict the temperature of key motor components at a variety of operating conditions and to evaluate the thermal characteristics of new motor designs. It should be pointed out that a fuel-cell motor does not have an engine to fall back on to provide the needed wheel power. Therefore, the design philosophy of a fuel-cell motor is very different from that of a hybrid Prius motor. Further thermal management studies in the high-speed region of the Prius motor, fed by its inverter, are planned.

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  • Report No.: ORNL/TM-2005/33
  • Grant Number: DE-AC05-00OR22725
  • DOI: 10.2172/885987 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 885987
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc892921

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Office of Scientific & Technical Information Technical Reports

Reports, articles and other documents harvested from the Office of Scientific and Technical Information.

Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) is the Department of Energy (DOE) office that collects, preserves, and disseminates DOE-sponsored research and development (R&D) results that are the outcomes of R&D projects or other funded activities at DOE labs and facilities nationwide and grantees at universities and other institutions.

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  • February 11, 2005

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Sept. 23, 2016, 2:42 p.m.

Description Last Updated

  • Dec. 7, 2016, 8:29 p.m.

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Hsu, J.S. Report on Toyota Prius Motor Thermal Management, report, February 11, 2005; [Tennessee]. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc892921/: accessed October 17, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.