Hybrid and Electric Vehicles

On the forefront of vehicular research, CAVS is invested in maximizing the ability of vehicle components. The MSU center supports a diverse team of engineers who focus on optimizing the all elements of hybrid, electric and traditional vehicles, including motors, powertrain systems, engines, range capabilities and batteries. Those efforts also include supporting student teams, like Mississippi State University's EcoCAR team, a participant in the four-year competition sponsored by the U.S Department of Energy and General Motors.


CAVS has experience designing and testing energy storage systems for a variety of mobile applications, ranging from small, wearable systems to full, long-range electric vehicles. Our history includes:

  • Module-level thermal testing full pack design
  • Thermal management
  • LV and HV power distribution
  • Battery management systems
  • Structural analysis
  • Venting for lithium-ion, nickel-metal, and lead-acid chemistries
Hybrid Electric Vehicle Batteries image one
Hybrid Electric Vehicle Batteries image two

CAVS has full design capability for hybrid and electric vehicle battery packs, including multi-platform 3D CAD, finite element analysis, thermal modeling and simulation, electrical power and signal distribution, and controls.

CAVS has particular expertise in hybrid and electric vehicle battery pack design, including proprietary thermal management technology. We have also developed hybrid multi-chemistry energy storage systems, such as battery-supercapacitor systems. CAVS has characterized, modeled and simulated batteries including both empirical and physics-based models with improved scalability.

One research area is highly-minimized energy storage, which refers to exploring full hybrids with very small electrical energy buffer. This requires accurate predictive modeling of powertrain loads.

CAVS has also developed large-format energy packs up to 90 kWh for electric vehicles. Research includes novel thermal management systems, assembly systems, and structures such as 3D printed cases.

High Voltage Battery


Mississippi State undergraduate and graduate students are redesigning a Chevrolet Camaro for EcoCAR, a series of multi-year competitions working to develop the next generation of leaders in the automotive industry. To learn more, click the link below:

Electric Motors

In terms of engines, CAVS has developed all types of hybrid architectures, including micro, start-stop, series, parallel, through-the-road, power-split, and plug-in.

Electric Motor CAD Structure
Electric Motor Exploded Diagram

For the Department of Energy’s Advanced Vehicle Technology Competition’s EcoCAR2 competition, CAVS engineers and students developed a series-parallel switching plug-in hybrid architecture. This design used an E85 engine, PMDC motor, and 6-speed automatic transmission, along with a chain-sprocket system to transfer power from the electric machine. The resulting vehicle achieved 118 mpg-e.

CAVS engineers also worked with a local company to produce an idle-reduction system for a Class 6 truck. The system uses a bank of batteries to maintain critical loads, such as HVAC, while the engine is off. With fully integrated controls that are transparent to the driver, the system switches between normal mode and engine-off mode automatically.

Armored Truck in the CAVS garage
MSU EcoCar on the road

While working together on the Car of the Future, CAVS engineers and students produced a plug-in hybrid vehicle that achieved 104 mpg-e through the use of a range-extending EV architecture. This vehicle achieves 60 miles of all-electric range from a 13 kWh battery pack, while weighing only 2,850 lb.

Range Extender

Plug-in hybrids which use electricity as their primary energy source also include range-extending generators. Range-extenders can run on gasoline, diesel, or biofuels. CAVS has developed range-extending engine packages for each fuel. A typical range-extender includes a combustion engine, generator, compliant torque coupling, mechanical coupling, and thermal management system.

Hybrid Electric Vehicle Range Extender

CAVS’ most recent range-extender package uses an 850 cc engine and PMDC generator to produce over 50 kW of electric power while weighing less than 80 kg. It achieves efficiency (liquid fuel to 300 VDC) of 31.6%.