Date of Award

Fall 2014

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Haiyan H. Zhang

Committee Chair

Haiyan H. Zhang

Committee Member 1

Richard M. French

Committee Member 2

Qingyou Han

Committee Member 3

Ayhan Ince


The transfer case based all-wheel drive electric vehicle (TCAWDEV) and dual-axle AWDEV have been investigated to balance concerns about energy consumption, drivability and stability of vehicles. However, the mentioned powertrain architectures have the torque windup issue or the wheel skidding issue. The torque windup is an inherent issue of mechanical linked all-wheel drive systems. The hydraulic motor-based or the electric motor-based ideal all-wheel drive powertrain can provide feasible solutions to the mentioned issues. An ideal AWDEV (IAWDEV) powertrain architecture and its control schemes were proposed by this research; the architecture has four independent driving motors in powertrain. The IAWDEV gives more control freedoms to implement active torque controls and traction mode controls. In essence, this research came up with the distributed powertrain concept, and developed control schemes of the distributed powertrain to replace the transfer case and differential devices. The study investigated the dual-loop motor control, the hybrid sliding mode control (HSMC) and the neural network predictive control to reduce energy consumption and achieve better drivability and stability by optimizing the torque allocation of each dependent wheel. The mentioned control schemes were respectively developed for the anti-slip, differential and yaw stability functionalities of the IAWDEV powertrain. This study also investigated the sizing method that the battery capacity was estimated by using cruise performance at 3% road grade. In addition, the model-based verification was employed to evaluate the proposed powertrain design and control schemes. The verification shows that the design and controls can fulfill drivability requirements and minimize the existing issues, including torque windup and chattering of the slipping wheel. In addition, the verification shows that the IAWDEV can harvest around two times more energy while the vehicle is running on slippery roads than the TCAWDEV and the dual-axle AWDEV; the traction control can achieve better drivability and lower energy consumption than mentioned powertrains; the mode control can reduce 3% of battery charge depleting during the highway driving test. It also provides compelling evidences that the functionalities achieved by complicated and costly mechanical devices can be carried out by control schemes of the IAWDEV; the active torque controls can solve the inherent issues of mechanical linked powertrains; the sizing method is credible to estimate the operation envelop of powertrain components, even though there is some controllable over-sizing.