The University of Victoria EcoCAR team has been diligently addressing problems that arose during Year Two of the competition while also making some all-around improvements to their vehicle. Mechanically, the team has been working hard to reduce noise and vibrations throughout their EcoCAR. New motor vibration mounts for the rear traction motor (RTM) are being manufactured, as well as new high-voltage aluminum enclosures to improve safety in the electrical systems. Light weighting is also being addressed by replacing the current steel plate between the engine and the transmission with a smaller, aluminum adapter plate. New cargo mounts have been designed to maintain the stock interior and improve overall aesthetics in the cargo area. The thermostat’s inconsistent temperature readings have been rectified, which should help with the team’s fuel economy by allowing more accurate engine temperature control. Finally, the current battery pack enclosure has been modified to improve accessibility.
On the controls side of things, the UVic team is nearing completion of a control systems overhaul. The new system is much more streamlined in terms of modeling procedures and productivity. The models in the new system, such as the engine and battery pack, have also been improved. Advanced techniques, such as parameter estimation, use real-world data to generate more accurate model parameters. Additionally, a new traction control system has been developed and is currently being tested and refined.
As a special feature, a new touch screen interface is currently being developed to help emulate the functionality of systems found in today’s consumer vehicles. The main challenge in this system is integrating the vehicle’s controller area network as it is a complex procedure.
The team has other consumer feature enhancements under research and development, but for now, they’ll remain under wraps in the top secret UVic vault!