NEW TEAM: Electric Drivetrain Technologies

2022 ~ Present


Shrink the size, reduce the mass, and improve the efficiency of drivetrains for electric vehicles.  The team will design, build, and test key elements of drivetrains including motor controllers, battery charging and management systems, motors, and gearboxes.  The emphasis will be on introducing new technologies to maximize the power density, such as the introduction of wide bandgap semiconductors, new magnetic materials, and permanent-magnet assisted synchronous reluctance motors. Applications include the drivetrain for electric racing cars (for example, HyTech Racing) and electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft (eVTOLs) that are designed and studied by CURAM.

Possible projects include:

-          Developing a highly integrated propulsion module, consisting of an Emrax 228 motor (or similar), an inverter that mounts directly on the back of the motor in a cylindrical casing and incorporates WBG technology to reduce losses and heat rejection, novel very lightweight and compact cooling methods, and a propeller pitch actuator that moves a pushrod to the propeller through a hollow shaft in both the motor and inverter.

-          Developing inverter-gearbox-motor modules that can drive each rear wheel of a racing car individually and allow for launch control, electronic stability, torque vectoring, and regenerative breaking.

Issues Involved or Addressed

There is a gap in highly power-dense drivetrain technologies in the range of 50-150 kW. We want to address this growing niche and at the same time improve the technology. In particular, we are planning to use state-of-the-art materials, devices, and topologies to shrink the size, reduce the mass, and improve the efficiency.

Methods and Technologies

  • Circuit modeling/simulation and design
  • Printed circuit board design
  • Mechanical modeling/simulation and design
  • Thermal modeling/simulation and design
  • Material selection
  • System optimization
  • Control software design
  • Controller hardware-in-the-loop testing
  • Power hardware-in-the-loop testing
  • Failure mode analysis and estimation of life expectancy

Academic Majors of Interest

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Chemical Engineering
  • Computer Engineering
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Materials Science and Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Physics

Preferred Interests and Preparation

  • Background or interest in power electronics.
  • Background or interest in electric motors.
  • Background or interest in battery management, protection, and charging technology.
  • Background or interest in cooling technology and heat transfer.
  • Background or interest in mechanical design for high-vibration environment.
  • Background or interest in reliability and failure modes.

Meeting Schedule & Location

3:30 - 4:20
Meeting Location 
Van Leer 483B
Meeting Day 

Team Advisors

Lukas Graber
  • Electrical and Computer Engineering
Brian German
  • Aerospace Engineering

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