HEVT Turns to Kollmorgen for Motor Help

The Hybrid Electric Vehicle Team of Virginia Tech (HEVT) has been working closely with team sponsor Kollmorgen to develop a custom P2 motor for its Chevrolet Malibu, which the team will receive this upcoming summer. The motor is a contributing factor to the architecture of the team’s series-parallel hybrid vehicle announced last month.

A P2 motor is a generator motor that lies between the engine and the transmission of the car, a space typically occupied by a torque converter. The purpose of this motor is to generate power back into the battery pack while the engine is on. P2 motors are primarily used in charge-sustaining mode, wherein the engine turns on when the battery pack discharges to a certain percentage.

“The P2 motor isn’t meant to go into the space,” said mechanical subteam member Kieran Lee. “To work around this issue, we’ve been working with Kollmorgen to create a custom P2 motor that will be able to fit into that spot.”

Since the generator will be doing the job of the torque converter, the team has decided to undertake the task of separating the engine and the transmission to create space. The team will have to work on modifying the half-shafts that connect the transmission to the wheels of the car and the mounts that hold the engine and the transmission in place by bolting them to the subframe and frame rails.

In addition to finding space for installing the P2 motor, HEVT must keep other considerations in mind, including cooling the motor and coupling it to a custom input shaft with splines (ridges that connect the P2 motor to the engine and the transmission).

“This is an extremely ambitious, complicated task,” said Kieran. “However, Kollmorgen has been very helpful in aiding us and helping to create custom parts.” Although installing the P2 motor requires a lot of extra work, HEVT is sure the hard work will pay off. A big thanks to Kollmorgen for helping the team achieve this task!