At the onset of the EcoCAR3 competition, the Pennsylvania State University Advanced Vehicle Team (PSU AVT) created a four-year plan to model the Vehicle Development Process (VDP) from General Motors. That process divided the four years of competition into Design, Modeling, and Simulation, Integration and Mule Vehicle Development, Vehicle Development and Refinement, and Consumer Market Engagement. At the end of Year One or Design, Modeling, and Simulation Phase, our team selected the architecture of the vehicle to be a pre-transmission parallel Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle architecture.
Following this, during Year Two, the team worked towards fabricating the various components required for the proposed vehicle architecture and design. Several components such as the Energy Storage System were designed, analyzed, manufactured, and assembled into the car. This was accomplished through extensive Computer Aided Engineering (CAE) activities, such as CAD, CAM, and FEA. In addition, the components, both procured and manufactured, were validated using experimental bench testing to ensure the desired functional capabilities.
What are we doing next?
For the success of a vehicle design process, the functionality of the car as a complete system is as important as the functionality of the individual components. Therefore, in Year Three of the competition, the primary objective for the team is to achieve 65% success with integration of the vehicle components. The team aims to achieve this through the three milestones described below.
Milestone #1: Complete Vehicle Integration
By the end of phase one, the team aims to install all the components in the car and check for compatibility with other component systems. The component systems should also be able to perform basic functionalities on their own. For example, all component controllers must be installed in the car and have communication with the other components. The team will also evaluate the target market for the product and revise the Vehicle Target Specifications based on the response of the consumer market research to meet the requirements of the target market.
Milestone #2: Baseline Vehicle Functionality
In this phase, the team aims at achieve baseline functionality for the entire vehicle. This means that all of the component systems must successfully communicate and interact with one another. For example, the motor system should be able to draw power from the Energy Storage System.
Milestone #3: Full Vehicle Functionality
This is the last phase before the team participates in the Year Three competition event in May 2017. Before the car and the team depart for the competition, the team plans on having a fully functional vehicle. This means that the vehicle can operate safely in different energy consumption modes. The car should also give enough feedback to the driver and switch between driving modes automatically. Since the VDP is highly consumer driven, the team also aims to achieve maximum consumer appeal. This will be done through several cosmetic and peripheral features similar to the original Camaro, while giving a better fuel efficiency and mileage.
With a fully functional vehicle, the team looks forward to having our game face on at the final competition at the General Motors Proving Grounds in Michigan!