Energy Storage and Electric Motor Systems Projects for Hands-on Student Learning
Advance Vehicle Technology Competitions (AVTCs) have been around for 30 years. Since 1994, the Hybrid Electric Vehicle Team (HEVT) at Virginia Tech has participated in AVTCs to pursue hybrid technologies. HEVT participated in a four-year AVTC called EcoCAR 3. At the beginning of the competition, HEVT introduced an ultra-rapid onboarding process, the Independent Study (IS) program, to involve non-seniors with the team. Although the IS program provides an incredible experience to non-seniors, it lacks hands-on experience related to the actual work students do once they become full-fledged team members. The challenge is to introduce two hands-on supplemental projects: the energy storage system (ESS) and the motor system. Each project is considered low voltage (LV) for safety and simplicity, however high voltage techniques are used for learning purposes. The LV ESS is used to power up an LV motor system. To limit depletion of the battery energy, another LV motor system is used as a generator to recharge the LV ESS. The lead faculty advisor, Dr. Douglas Nelson, and the project manager, Andres Coello, are working in congruence to introduce a smooth transition of the projects into HEVT's IS program. The hands-on projects are expected to last one semester. The goals are to guide students in the design, construction and testing of both systems. The hands-on supplemental projects are also meant to aid the Applied Automotive Engineering (AAE) curriculum by filling important knowledge gaps current AAE modules are missing.