Mechanical Components Design and Optimization for an All-Wheel-Drive Series Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle
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The University of Waterloo Alternative Fuels Team (UWAFT) is a student team conceived in 1996, participating in numerous student competitions which aim to reduce emissions and improve fuel economy of passenger vehicles. UWAFT was led by faculty advisors Dr. Roydon Fraser and Dr. Michael Fowler in the EcoCAR 2 competition sponsored by the Department of Energy and General Motors. The team designed and competed with a 2013 Chevrolet Malibu, which was converted to an All-Wheel-Drive Series Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle. UWAFT was conceived with the primary goal of providing university students with an unparalleled level of hands-on experience through a project-based environment. Such projects build on the knowledge and skills learned in the classroom, and presents additional challenges that are not normally seen from the classroom alone. Such challenges include designing for manufacturability, sourcing components, solving problems with uncertainty, teamwork, project planning, and much more. Safety is a primary consideration with all the projects, and proper training are provided for the students, including high voltage training. One particular topic that is receiving increasing attention is knowledge retention. It is a recurring issue due to the nature of student teams, as experienced team members eventually graduate and leave the team. Although there is usually an overlap of experienced and new team members, sometimes there is a large turnover rate and knowledge retention within the team becomes a problem as a large number of experienced team members graduate and leave at once. As such, detailed documentation of lessons learned is becoming a valuable tool in team knowledge retention as well as saving experienced team members the trouble of individually teaching each and every new volunteer that joins the team. This thesis provides an outline of the general mechanical design processes as well as a focus on the mechanical design of major mechanical components that are required during a conversion of a vehicle to an Electric Vehicle (EV) or Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV). This thesis serves as part of the knowledge retention system for UWAFT such that new team members will have an easier time learning the design processes and understanding some of the things to look out for, with recommendations from the author based on his experiences from designing these components for UWAFT’s EcoCAR 2 vehicle.