Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s EcoCAR 2 program is gaining capabilities as we enter Year Two of the competition. Over the summer the team received a new chassis dynamometer that will help its vehicle’s drivetrain testing and development. The dynamometer will provide a realistic way to exercise the new hybrid powertrain in a safe, highly instrumented laboratory environment. This reduces the control development cycle substantially. Making code updates, then testing in SIL, HIL, and on the vehicle can be done in a safe way while fully exercising the hardware under full power conditions.
The EcoEagles are in-process with installation and anticipate full dyno functionality around the same time the vehicle is ready.
Another way the EcoCar 2 team is preparing for successful competition Years Two and Three is installation of new charging stations. The Mechanical Engineering department’s growth merited a move to a recently renovated building. Aside from the new Class A office space, there are three new laboratory spaces for student projects: High Performance Vehicles, Robotics, and Clean Energy Systems. Outside the renovated building these new electric vehicle charging stations are ready to recharge the team’s plug-in series hybrid electric vehicle.
Finally, ERAU’s on-campus biodiesel reactor is underway for another year to refine B20 production capabilities. Using waste vegetable oil (WVO) from the campus cafeteria, the raw feedstock is fed into the reactor to make 40-gallon batches of biodiesel. After fuels testing to ensure proper quality, this biodiesel will power the EcoEagles’ B20-powered EcoCar.
With a new Chevy Malibu vehicle, new motors, new inverters, A123 batteries, and soon a new GM 1.7 LUD diesel, the EcoEagles are charging forward into an exciting year of the vehicle development process.