This article addresses the problem of maintaining a stable rectified DC output from the three-phase AC generator in a series-hybrid vehicle powertrain. The series-hybrid prime power source generally comprises an internal combustion (IC) engine driving a three-phase permanent magnet generator whose output is rectified to DC. A recent development has been to control the engine/generator combination by an electronically actuated throttle. This system can be represented as a nonlinear system with significant time delay. Previously, voltage control of the generator output has been achieved by model predictive methods such as the Smith Predictor. These methods rely on the incorporation of an accurate system model and time delay into the control algorithm, with a consequent increase in computational complexity in the real-time controller, and as a necessity relies to some extent on the accuracy of the models. Two complementary performance objectives exist for the control system. Firstly, to maintain the IC engine at its optimal operating point, and secondly, to supply a stable DC supply to the traction drive inverters. Achievement of these goals minimises the transient energy storage requirements at the DC link, with a consequent reduction in both weight and cost. These objectives imply constant velocity operation of the IC engine under external load disturbances and changes in both operating conditions and vehicle speed set-points. In order to achieve these objectives, and reduce the complexity of implementation, in this article a controller is designed by the use of Genetic Programming methods in the Simulink modelling environment, with the aim of obtaining a relatively simple controller for the time-delay system which does not rely on the implementation of real time system models or time delay approximations in the controller. A methodology is presented to utilise the miriad of existing control blocks in the Simulink libraries to automatically evolve optimal control structures.
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