MSU EcoCAR 3 Talks About Their Selected Architecture

The Mississippi State University EcoCAR 3 team announced its selected architecture for its redesigning efforts of the all-new 2016 Chevrolet Camaro. Throughout the course of the four-year competition the team will implement a series of custom components to modify the 2016 Camaro into a Series- Parallel Plug-In Hybrid-Electric Vehicle powered by E85.


How will the team do this?

The team’s selected architecture includes a custom gear drive and energy storage system (ESS). The custom gear box will pull energy from three sources and apply it to one output, the vehicle’s drive shaft. The gears will be carved out of aluminum in an out-of-house facility. The case which will hold the gears will be made in-house by the team. Coupled with the custom gear drive is a two-speed transmission. The transmission will allow for the vehicle to reach approximately 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 MSU EcoCAR 3 team will be building the carbon fiber casing and supports for the ESS. Working with carbon fiber is one of the highlights for the MSU EcoCAR 3 Mechanical Sub-team.

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 in newton metres when applied to the vehicle’s two-speed transmission. One newton is the force required to accelerate a mass of one kilogram at a rate of one meter per second squared. These two electric motors are essential to maintaining the high-performance of the classic Camaro.

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 MSU EcoCAR 3 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 made from plant material 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 the team’s vehicle’s gas tank from empty to full. With plans to receive approximately 100 miles per gallon (MPG), the driver could travel nearly one thousand miles off of one tank of gas in the MSU EcoCAR 3 vehicle.

With all of these components working together, the team’s vehicle is planned to achieve 50 – 70 MPH in approximately 2.1 seconds. In addition, the vehicle will be able to achieve Initial Vehicle Motion (IVM) – 60 MPH in approximately 4.5 seconds.

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Click Here to learn more about the MSU EcoCAR 3 Team’s Architecture selection.