MSU Vehicle Design
Our selected architecture is called a Series Parallel Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle (SPS PHEV). But before we get into that, we’d like to explain a little about what hybrid vehicles are and how they work.
Hybrids: Defined & Explained
A hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) is a type of vehicle that uses two energy sources. A HEV typically combines the internal combustion engine of a conventional vehicle with the battery and electric motor of an electric vehicle (EV). This combination offers reduced fuel consumption and lower emissions, while maintaining the familiar drivability and convenient fueling of a conventional vehicle. HEVs have the potential to be two to three times more fuel-efficient than conventional vehicles. Common fuel sources for these vehicles include gasoline, diesel, compressed natural gas, ethanol, biodiesel, and hydrogen.
Hybrids are normally divided into the subtypes of either series or parallel, which refers to the way in which the engine supplies power to the propulsion system. In the series hybrid, a combustion engine powers a generator which charges the battery or supplies power directly to the electric motor. In a parallel hybrid, both the engine and electric motor are used to drive the wheels. Either the electric motor or the engine may be used to propel the vehicle, or they may be used simultaneously for maximum power. Other designs combine features of both the parallel and series hybrids.A special class of hybrid, the plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV), further reduces fuel consumption with the ability to recharge from the electrical grid. Some hybrids even replace the engine with a hydrogen fuel cell. This technology produces no vehicle emissions and has great potential for reducing green house gas emissions!
For a better look at how these designs work, visit our Design Options page!
Series-Parallel Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV)
MSU’s Series-Parallel PHEV will switch between operating as a series and parallel hybrid. The team’s vehicle will be capable of charging from the electric grid. The vehicle will drive using the electric motor until the battery has been drained. At this point the engine will begin powering the car and maintaining the battery. This design will allow the car to drive more like a conventional vehicle and not suffer from the limited range associated with EVs.