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

  • EngineeringAerospace Engineering
  • EngineeringChemical Engineering
  • EngineeringComputer Engineering
  • EngineeringElectrical Engineering
  • EngineeringMaterials Science and Engineering
  • EngineeringMechanical Engineering
  • SciencesPhysics

Preferred Interests and Preparation

Interest (or background) in the topic/technologies including electric motors; battery management, protection, and charging technology; cooling technology and heat transfer; mechanical design for high-vibration environment; and reliability and failure modes.

Meeting Schedule & Location

3:30 - 4:20
Meeting Location 
Van Leer 465
Meeting Day 

Team Advisors

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

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