Computer Simulations Aid Development of ID. R
The development of Volkswagen Motorsport’s ID. R electric race car is in full swing thanks to innovative computer simulations and modern calculation methods.
The ID. R prototype, powered by two electric motors with a 500kW system performance is set to attempt to achieve the lap record for electric vehicles on the Nurburgring-Nordschleife, with Romain Dumas at the wheel. As well as extensive test drives and work in a wind tunnel, Volkswagen Motorsport is relying heavily on computer simulators during this preparation phase.
Dr Benjamin Ahrenholz, head of calculation/simulation at Volkswagen Motorsport, explained: “While Romain Dumas practices the track or tests various chassis set-ups on the driving simulator, simulation technology also plays a crucial role for the engineers as well. We are in the fortunate position of being in possession of a wealth of data on the track layout and road surface. This allows us to adapt the ID. R virtually as efficiently as possible, despite the fact it has never driven a lap of the Nordschleife before.”
These clever digital tools are essential for supporting the engineers but also save time and money. Whatever Romain Dumas inputs through the virtual cockpit (Driver in the Loop), the computer builds upon in the offline driving dynamics simulation. It completes an infinite number of laps with a saved profile, which means it can determine how different power outfits or shifts in the vehicle’s centre of gravity affect the ultimate lap time. The aim is to use this information to optimise the car’s handling and motor responsiveness.
Volkswagen Motorsport’s aerodynamics department uses CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) to study how airflow is channelled around the ID. R and cooling systems most effectively. Battery simulation is also used to compare power management and power recuperation strategies to find the most efficient use of electrical energy.
Finally, the structure simulation deals with the mechanical design of individual components. The race track poses high demands on the structure of the race car, so a focus on chassis, suspension and bodywork calculations is important to its success.
The ID. R race car is the racing forerunner to the ID. product family, with which Volkswagen plans to launch an extensive Electro-mobility range from 2020.
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