An “In the Shop” Update from RHIT

The RHIT EcoCAR 2 team is currently in the process of building the containment housing for its Energy Stored System (ESS). Team members have completed the mounting systems within the housing and they are in the process of final mock up for the positioning of the energy modules.

Josh King is the Co-Mechanical Team Leader for the RHIT EcoCAR 2 team. King has overseen the projects that are turning the 2013 Malibu into a HEV.

“My goal for the end of Year Two is to have a fully functioning vehicle capable of operating as a test mule,” he said

The team has also completed the installation of a new all-wheel drive subframe in the rear of the car. The all-wheel drive subframe includes suspension and drive components in addition to the rear differential from a Buick Lacrosse. This will allow for the implementation of a Remy HVH 250 traction motor that will act as the drive system for the rear wheels. The Buick Lacrosse subframe was chosen because the Buick Lacrosse shares frame and chasse components with the 2013 Chevrolet Malibu. This allowed for a much smoother implementation of the system.

“Additionally, the team has made progress on installing and fabricating mounting hardware for essential controls components that are necessary for the safe operation of the vehicle. The fabrication of this hardware has presented an opportunity for members of the team to gain more hands-on experience in a manufacturing environment and to develop a hands-on skill set in the machine shop,” King said.

The team has removed the stock fuel tank and exhaust system in preparation for the addition of its custom design, which includes a custom fuel cell, rear drivetrain and custom exhaust system. The car will be ready to be taken to a secondary supplier for exhaust routing once implementation of the rear drivetrain and fuel cell is complete.

“Our future plans include an engine swap to a GM LE9 4-cylinder engine capable of running on E85 ethanol fuel.  The team is looking forward to the engine swap as an exciting challenge.”