The high emission and low energy efficiency caused by internal combustion engines (ICE) have become unacceptable under environmental regulations and the energy crisis. As a promising alternative solution, multi-power source electric vehicles (MPS-EVs) introduce different clean energy systems to improve powertrain efficiency. The energy management strategy (EMS) is a critical technology for MPS-EVs to maximize efficiency, fuel economy, and range. Reinforcement learning (RL) has become an effective methodology for the development of EMS. RL has received continuous attention and research, but there is still a lack of systematic analysis of the design elements of RL-based EMS. To this end, this paper presents an in-depth analysis of the current research on RL-based EMS (RL-EMS) and summarizes the design elements of RL-based EMS. This paper first summarizes the previous applications of RL in EMS from five aspects: algorithm, perception scheme, decision scheme, reward function, and innovative training method. The contribution of advanced algorithms to the training effect is shown, the perception and control schemes in the literature are analyzed in detail, different reward function settings are classified, and innovative training methods with their roles are elaborated. Finally, by comparing the development routes of RL and RL-EMS, this paper identifies the gap between advanced RL solutions and existing RL-EMS. Finally, this paper suggests potential development directions for implementing advanced artificial intelligence (AI) solutions in EMS.
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