Recovering solar energy during parking phases can significantly improve light-duty vehicles' fuel economy (FE) and help in reducing greenhouse gas impact and harmful tailpipe emissions. Nevertheless, the contribution due to off-driving photovoltaic (PV) recharging shall be adequately accounted for when approaching the development and testing of energy-efficient and environment-friendly powertrain energy management. The aim of this work was thus to enhance the existing highly charge-depleting (HCD) control strategy of a 48V mild-hybrid electric vehicle (MHEV), implementing a state-of-charge-dependent soft charge-depleting (SCD) one. The performance of the implemented control strategy was analyzed on two different vehicle configurations, obtained by integrating a solar kit with the aforementioned mild-hybrid powertrain. The modelling framework used to perform simulation-based analysis was suitably updated in such a way as to test both charge-depleting and quasi-charge-sustaining strategies. A scenario analysis was thus enabled, whose objective was to assess the FE and carbon dioxide (CO2) reduction potential associated with the joint effect of solar hybridization and the proposed battery state-of-charge-driven control rules. The Federal Urban Driving Schedule (FUDS) was simulated for the four vehicle scenarios available (conventional, MHEV-HCD, MHEV-SCD, and solar mild hybrid). The results confirmed the high potential of solar-assisted mild-hybridization of original conventional vehicles, with significant benefits (i.e., about 30% improvement) achieved both in terms of FE and CO2 emissions.
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