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Applications Of Computer Based Power Electronics To Electric Vehicle Technology, An Interdisciplinary Senior Course.

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2000 Annual Conference


St. Louis, Missouri

Publication Date

June 18, 2000

Start Date

June 18, 2000

End Date

June 21, 2000



Page Count


Page Numbers

5.109.1 - 5.109.5



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Paper Authors

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Richard E. Pfile

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Maher E. Rizkalla

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Charles F. Yokomoto

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session #3432

Applications of Computer-Based Power Electronics to Electric Vehicle Technology, An Interdisciplinary Senior Course.

Maher E. Rizkalla, Charles F. Yokomoto, Richard Pfile, A. S.C. Sinha, Mohamed El-Sharkawy, Sergy Lyshevski, and Ahmed Al-Antably* School of Engineering and Technology Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis 723W Michigan Street Indianapolis, IN 46202 *Allison Transmission, GM Corporation P.O. Box 894 Indianapolis, IN 46206

I. Abstract In this paper, we describe how the design and analysis of power electronics can be made alive to students by focusing all classroom and laboratory experiences on a high-profile, high-tech, production unit such as General Motors’ propulsion system for its EV1 electric vehicles. Using this strategy, an interdisciplinary team of faculty at our university successfully designed a senior elective for electrical engineering and electrical engineering technology students in power electronics. Developed under a FIPSE grant, the course covers both the design of state-of-the-art power electronics and the design of associated computer interfacing, all focusing on the propulsion system. Unlike traditional power electronics courses where the design methods are applied to generic scenarios, focusing on such a high-profile modern plant helps motivate students because they see the lessons as real, relevant, and career oriented. The paper includes a comprehensive description of the high-power electronics subsystems and the solid state devices commonly used in power electronics, and it discusses the range of laboratory experiments and projects that students are assigned throughout the semester. The paper also discusses the data acquisition system that was developed using LabView for students to safely monitor high voltages and currents from the propulsion system and the ABC150 battery charger. Finally, results of the assessment of student satisfaction are presented.

II. Background on Electric Vehicles to Understand Our Course Design In electric vehicles (EV) applications, designers must continue to improve performance and reliability and to ensure an acceptable level of comfort and safety. Batteries must have high energy densities, small size and light weight, and fast recharging capability (low internal resistance), and they must remain safe when damaged or abused and be reliable and affordable. Regenerative braking must be used to extend the operating range of a vehicle, especially in stop/start traffic conditions. During braking, the motor must act as a generator, returning energy to the battery. Discharge paths must be provided to protect the battery and the motor drive circuit from overload, and for air conditioning, dc-dc converters are needed. In addition, drive electronics and battery chargers must be added to the system, including a dc chopper (PWM) that drives the armature winding to provide speed control. Thus, the electric vehicle becomes an excellent focal point for a course in design that can excite and motivate students.

III. What Makes the course exciting? 3.1 Hands-on design Students find the course exciting because they are involved in hands-on design throughout the course, working with an ABC150 battery charging system, to monitoring its high currents, voltages, control signals, and temperatures at different locations inside the engine, and

Pfile, R. E., & Rizkalla, M. E., & Yokomoto, C. F. (2000, June), Applications Of Computer Based Power Electronics To Electric Vehicle Technology, An Interdisciplinary Senior Course. Paper presented at 2000 Annual Conference, St. Louis, Missouri. 10.18260/1-2--8166

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