UWAFT’s Custom-built Subframe

In order to make the wheels spin on UWAFT’s hydrogen fuel cell plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, the EcoCAR students at the University of Waterloo have successfully integrated two electric motors into the vehicle’s drivetrain – one at the front wheels and one at the rear wheels.  To effectively use the electricity of the team’s GM-donated fuel cell and A123Systems-donated battery, UWAFT needed frequent successful bench tests of its Siemens AC induction electric rear motor.

Since this motor was not originally intended to be incorporated into the stock GM sub-frame, UWAFT has designed a unique rear mounting system that retained the original suspension mounting points, while also housing the sizable motor.  Knowing that the electric motor would need to be detached from the vehicle on a regular basis for testing, UWAFT specially designed the rear sub frame to ensure that disassembly was as efficient as possible. The design was a success, effectively accommodating the electric motor while making it possible for two people to disassemble in 15 minutes. This small mechanical modification has led to an increase in productivity and overall efficiency when working on the motor.

Watch the video below to see a bench test of UWAFT’s rear electric motor in action!

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