The University of Victoria is developing a hybrid vehicle that will help reduce fuel consumption, petroleum energy use, and levels of toxic and greenhouse gas emissions. Research shows that 70% of North American drivers commute less than 65 km a day, and UVic has decided to use these statistics as a basis for vehicle development. We are offering drivers the best of both worlds: fully-functional all electric propulsion for up to 65 kilometers, with the flexibility to ‘extend’ range by using fuel and battery energy in conventional hybrid fashion!
UVIC's Vehicle Architecture
The EcoCAR 2 Team at the University of Victoria (UVIC) considered the local energy mix, the desire to provide a platform for hybrid vehicle research, and the lessons learned from participation in EcoCAR 1 at the heart of their architecture discussions. UVIC’s chosen EcoCAR 2 architecture, the Series-Parallel Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle, provides the capability to meet all driving needs in our community and, combined with the GM LE9 E85 engine, is among today’s most efficient architectures.
Thanks to British Columbia’s hydro-heavy energy mix, a Plug-In Hybrid in urban BC would be among the most environmentally favourable of hybrid configurations. To store energy from the grid, a high-capacity battery pack will be built, using Lithium-Ion modules donated by A123 Systems. To conduct this energy to the wheels, an electric motor mounted in the rear of the vehicle will provide motive power to the rear wheels. The Magna E-Drive system was selected for this role. This unit combines a 100kW electric motor with a differential, an inverter, and all cooling and related systems into a single unit, which reduces the system integration work required.
Previous research stemming from UVIC’s participation in EcoCAR 1 indicated that at higher speeds or power levels, it was more optimal to favour an engine over electric drive. Based on that, the team aimed to keep an engine connected to the transmission in the front of the vehicle. An analysis of the available fuels showed that use of E85 fuel (85% ethanol) provides a reduction in greenhouse gasses and criteria (air pollutant) emissions, along with a large petroleum displacement (as it is only 15% petroleum-based). Based on this, the GM LE9 E85 engine was selected to drive the front wheels.
To enhance the functionality of the engine, a 37kW motor from TM4 will be connected to the LE9 engine. This motor will serve as a BAS (Belt-Alternator-Starter) to quickly start and stop the engine as needed, provide a power assist to the front powertrain, and provide a means to charge the high-capacity battery.