Electric Vehicle design for Shell ECO-Marathon
With recent focus on transportation energy and CO2 emissions, an interest has emerged in finding innovative methods to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from petroleum based fuels. Many alternative fuel options are being researched, with one being electric vehicles (EVs). EVs offer many advantages over typical petroleum-based forms of transportation. They produce no emissions and have high efficiency. Additionally EVs can be charged using alternative power sources, such as wind and solar, making them a truly renewable source of transportation. For 3 year, the Boise State University Horsepower team has been designing, constructing, and competing an electric vehicle in the Shell ECO-Marathon in Houston, Texas. This competition brings together teams from all over the North and South America to test their alternative energy vehicle designs. The winner of the 2012 competition achieved a gas mileage equivalent of 2,189 mpg, almost enough to drive from Boise, Idaho to Houston, Texas on one gallon of gasoline. This year’s Boise State University Horsepower team is focused on improving the frame and shell of the vehicle, improving steering and braking capabilities, and integrating regeneration systems such as solar panels and regenerative braking. The new shell will significantly improve vehicle aerodynamics and reduce drag forces. The frame is being redesigned to fit inside the new shell and reduce overall weight. Improving the steering will reduce the energy wasted during turns due to a skidding problem that hampered the vehicle last year. In addition, regeneration systems will gather energy while the vehicle is operating, to reduce power consumption and boost efficiency. Through this process, the Boise State University Horsepower team aims to improve the efficiency of the current electric vehicle and place well at the competition.