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Excerpted from student entries in the project’s blog and annual progress reports, this series of text snapshots reveals how Marquette’s efficient “plug-in” became a reality.

The evolution

Feb. 24, 2008 We have been working hard to determine the best way to design this project. We have ordered the appropriate motor and controller from Azure Dynamics. The automotive department at Milwaukee Area Technical College will help us remove the gas combustion pieces, as well as help us prepare the vehicle for installation of the electric motor and controller. April 21, 2008 Many of our current team members plan to keep working on the project over the summer to ensure the vehicle is in proper shape for the next group of students. Also on tap this summer is to determine a strategy on batteries, the last major component of the project. The only work before we get the wheels spinning consists of getting the spline and shaft welded together. Fall 2008 The first task of the new team is to complete the new electric drive train, including manufacturing an intermediate driveshaft to connect the electric motor to the original driveshaft. April 25, 2009 The van was able to move while being attached to a power source. This is an amazing achievement.

Photos by Ben Smidt

Oct. 26, 2009 The 2009–10 team went to MATC to continue working on the project. The drive shaft was reinstalled since being removed during storage over the summer. Also, the motor controller and its mountings were prepared to have the motor controller firmly installed. Nov. 7, 2009 With the holes drilled and the spacers purchased, we were able to mount the motor controller so it will experience a reduced level of vibrations. Also, we learned how to connect the power supply system together so we will be able to test the eLIMO with the tethered power sources in the future. Finally, we were able to connect the power to the motor controller so we can talk to it with the computer software. Dec. 12, 2009 We were able to wire the motor controller to the ignition key. Now the motor controller will be turned on and off with the ignition switch. March 30, 2009 An initial set of 12 batteries has been purchased for the testing and construction of a battery management system. An additional ride in a current LIMO van was conducted to gather additional data and refine the energy calculations. ... The on-board portable generator idea has been dropped due to logistical concerns and liability issues. ... The problems of power steering and air-conditioning compressor power are issues that might be addressed by a later team. Heating, however, has been solved, with a high-voltage heating core that will be able to supply the system with heat for the cabin. April 21, 2009 On Saturday, April 18, we activated the motor, which sent power through the well-machined and operationally sound intermediate driveshaft, through the rear differential with modified gear ratio and out to the wheels. We ran the wheels free, with regenerative braking and without.

November 2011 // 18

Marquette Engineer  

College of Engineering Magazine

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