Following the Year 2 Final Competition last year, the North Carolina State University (NCSU) EcoCAR 2 team, at the suggestion of the competition organizers, decided to abandon developing a custom speed controller for the vehicle’s range extension system and instead sourced and purchased an off-the-shelf controller from Woodard, a competition-level sponsor. Read on to learn how they made it work!
First, the controls team began bench testing the functionality of the linear actuator coupled with the controller while the mechanical team worked on the mechanical integration of the range extension system and its various supporting systems (e.g. exhaust, cooling, and power transmission). Following the advice of the engine supplier, the team developed a revision of the power transmission system that allowed the engine’s flywheel to be reattached. Once all the design work had been completed, it was time to run the engine – which had been sitting idle for almost a year. After successfully running the engine, the controls team started testing the functionality of the engine controller on the engine. However, due to some unexpected delays, the engine’s coolant system has yet to be fully integrated. Once the coolant system is complete, the controls team will be able to conduct more detailed tests that require the engine to run for long periods of time.
The NCSU team has been working very hard to integrate the range extension system and looks forward to having a fully functional plug-in series hybrid! See the engine running below!