The Hybrid Electric Vehicle Team of Virginia Tech (HEVT) is participating in the 2009–2011 EcoCAR: The NeXt Challenge Advanced Vehicle Technology Competition series organized by Argonne National Lab (ANL), and sponsored by General Motors Corporation (GM) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). The goal of EcoCAR is for student engineers to take a GM-donated crossover SUV and re-engineer it to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and petroleum energy use, while maintaining performance, safety and consumer appeal. Following GM’s Vehicle Development Process (VDP), HEVT established team goals that meet or exceed the competition requirements for EcoCAR in the design of a plug-in range-extended hybrid electric vehicle. HEVT is split up into three subteams to complete the competition and meet the requirements of the vehicle development process. The Mechanical subteam is tasked with modifying and refining the Year 1 component specifications and designs for packaging in the vehicle. The Electrical subteam is tasked with implementing a safe high voltage system on the vehicle including the design and development of a Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePO4) energy storage subsystem (ESS) donated by A123 Systems. The Controls subteam is tasked with modeling the Vehicle Technical Specifications (VTS) so that the subteams can make intelligent design decisions. The Controls subteam also used a controller Hardware-In-the-Loop (HIL) simulation setup running a real-time vehicle model against the controller hardware to test the HEVT-designed Hybrid Vehicle Supervisory Controller (HVSC). The result of this design process is an Extended-Range Electric Vehicle (E-REV) that uses grid electric energy and E85 fuel for propulsion. The vehicle design is predicted to achieve an SAE J1711 utility factor-corrected fuel consumption of 2.9 l(ge)/100 km (82 mpgge) with an estimated all-electric range of 69 km (43 miles). Using corn-based E85 fuel in North America for the 2015 timeframe and an average North American electricity mix, the well-to-wheels petroleum energy use and greenhouse gas emissions are reduced by 90% and 30% respectively when compared to the stock vehicle: a 4-cylinder, gasoline-fueled Vue XE.

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