Wisconsin Hybrid Vehicle Team’s 2013 Fall Semester
The Wisconsin Hybrid Vehicle Team has been engaged in a partnership with the UW-Madison Engine Research Center for several years to build a series hybrid vehicle which implements a new engine technology called Reactivity Controlled Compression Ignition (RCCI). This year the team set out to complete that project.
The team began the Fall semester with nearly all of the eMoove’s (the current build vehicle) major components removed in order to modify the vehicle to be RCCI ready. The genset was not in the engine bay as the engine (1.9L Fiat turbo diesel) had just finished being modified for RCCI operation. Additionally, the system for coupling the engine to the electric motor to create the hybrid genset had only just been finalized after multiple iterations on the team’s engine dynamometer over the previous year. Finally, the high voltage battery pack was removed from the vehicle to allow the rewiring of the low voltage controls systems.
In the first month of the semester the team leadership set three primary goals for the construction of the vehicle. The three goals were to have the vehicle running as a fully functioning electric vehicle by the homecoming parade, have the genset running in diesel mode by mid-November, and finally have the car running as an RCCI hybrid vehicle for testing over winter break at one of Ford’s chassis dynamometers.
The team reached the first goal of a fully functional electric vehicle by the homecoming parade and even pushed beyond that. Not only was the vehicle brought back to full electric functionality and driven in the parade, but thanks to a lot of hard work the genset was assembled and installed in the engine compartment before the homecoming parade.
Moving into the middle of the semester, the team also reached its second goal of running the genset in diesel mode by mid-November. The mechanical team worked hard to route and connect all of the required engine peripherals as well as the cooling systems for the high voltage electronics. During this time the controls and electrical team worked to finish the wiring for the high and low voltage components controlling the newly installed genset as well as developing and testing the controls strategy that would oversee the operation of the genset. With the genset installed and running the team had successfully built a fully functioning hybrid vehicle.
Then, as the semester began to draw to a close, the team, in partnership with the Engine Research Center, was able to integrate the newly built RCCI engine controller into the vehicle. With only a few weeks until the team would leave to test the vehicle at Ford’s facilities, the genset ran RCCI making the eMoove the worlds first vehicle running an RCCI engine.
The validation of the years of hard work to bring the vehicle to its current level of completion came over winter break as the team headed to the greater Detroit, MI area in the middle of a record cold spell to test the vehicle on a cutting edge chassis dynamometer. The eMoove held up throughout the entire four days of testing and the team gathered valuable data for improving the eMoove in the Spring semester.
Not only did the team see major success in its current build vehicle during the Fall semester, but the team also saw major progress in its preparation for the future. During the Fall semester the team saw an influx of new team members larger than any in recent years. These new team members have already gained an impressive level of competence with many of the tools and concepts that are key to the team. Additionally, the team submitted a strong application for the EcoCAR3 competition and eagerly awaits a response from the competition coordinators which will come late in the Spring semester.
As the team begins the Spring semester it has three primary goals. The first is to finish building the eMoove and take pride in that accomplishment through outreach to the community and sponsors. The second is to continue developing the new team members into a skilled group of automotive engineers. And the last is to prepare the team for the next year through the improvement of the organization of team information and resources, the development of next years leaders, and the growth of the communications and business subteam.