The MSU EcoCAR 3 team plans to transform the all-new 2016 Chevrolet Camaro into a plug-in series-parallel hybrid electric vehicle, powered by E85 gasoline, over the course of the 4-year competition. By selecting an aggressive and monumental architecture design, the team plans to make waves throughout the course of the competition.
The team’s selected architecture includes a custom gear drive and energy storage system (ESS). The custom gear box will pull power from three sources and apply it to one output, the vehicle’s drive shaft. The gears will be machined by a team sponsor, while housing will be made in-house by the MSU EcoCAR 3 team. Coupled with the custom gear drive is a two-speed transmission. The transmission will allow for the vehicle to reach speeds in excess of 115 miles per hour (MPH). Together, the custom gear drive and two speed transmission help ensure the vehicle is both efficient and powerful. The team’s custom ESS, A123 18.9 kWh 7x15s3p, which is placed in the rear of the vehicle, will allow the vehicle to travel approximately 60 miles on electricity alone. The team will be building the carbon fiber casing and supports for the ESS. Working with carbon fiber is one of the highlights for the Mechanical Sub-team. In addition, the team chose to use a two cylinder, turbo-charged Weber engine for the Camaro. Originally designed for snowmobiles and wave runners, the Weber engine is compact and lightweight. The team is converting the engine to run on E85 gasoline. E85 is an alternative fuel containing approximately 85 percent ethanol. According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), ethanol is a renewable, domestically produced transportation fuel which helps reduce imported oil and greenhouse gas emissions. The team’s selected architecture also includes a ten gallon E85 gasoline tank. The current average for E85 gasoline is $2.03 per gallon. As of today, it would only take $20.30 to fill MSU EcoCAR 3 vehicle’s gas tank from empty to full. The team is currently estimating the car will receive approximately 100 miles per gallon gasoline equivalent (MPGGE). In order to generate power from the engine, the team chose to couple a Bosch Integrated Motor Generator (IMG). The IMG is not only able to start the engine at cold-start but also is capable of restarting the engine very quickly during electrical driving mode. In electric vehicles, electric motors are used to convert electrical energy into mechanical energy. The mechanical energy is what moves the vehicle forward. In the team’s selected architecture, the two selected electric motors, UQM 125 and UQM 145, will peak at approximately 1000 ft pounds when applied to the vehicle’s two-speed transmission. These two electric motors are essential to maintaining the high-performance of the classic Camaro.