“Team Fate” – Designing the Next Generation Hybrid (113)

pm113_550Students at UC Davis Hybrid Vehicle Research Center have been creating plug-in hybrids for national competitions for some time. “Team Fate” members Bryan Jungers and Patrick Kaufman describe how they “gut” the drive train of a standard vehicle, replacing it with an electric motor, a bank of batteries, continuously variable transmission, and some smart electronics. The resulting vehicle runs on electricity, assisted by a much smaller flex-fuel internal combustion engine only when needed. Bryan and Patrick also enlighten us on topics ranging from battery technology to hydrogen fuel cells.

See their  vehicle in “Team Fate” – Under the Hood of a Next-Gen Plug-in Hybrid (episode 114). They work with Professor Andrew Frank, Director of UC Davis Hybrid Vehicle Research Center, who is profiled in Plug-in Hybrids Power the Grid (Episode 107). [PHEV engineering by Andy Frank and Team FATE]

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  1. Don Duncan says:

    Ethanol MAY work. It depends on the source. If from corn, NO. If from switch grass, probably. It will be awhile before we know. However, the battery tech is here now. Li-Ion, nano-phosphate batteries are safe, efficient, long lasting, and quick charging.

  2. Stuart M. says:

    A great interview! These “kids” know their stuff and we may yet get to keep our car-dependent lifestyle. Drats! and double Drats! No, seriously, the so-called “plug-in hybrid” is probably the wave of the future. Being able to drive your car with batteries for the first 40 miles, before switching on the combustion engine will drop fuel consumption dramatically for the typical commuter. But this technology is of little use for heavy trucks hauling freight cross-country or for agricultural mechanization. Whether ethanol or biodiesel can provide enough fuel for these important needs remains to be seen.

    I liked Bryan Junger’s opening comments on how to make one’s personal transportation decisions: 1) Walk to your destination 2) If you can’t walk that far, ride a bike 3) If you can’t ride a bike that far, take public transportation 4) If the public transportation doesn’t go where you want to, use a car. I enjoy numbers 1 and 2 very much and try to walk/ride my bike whenever I can. The plug-in hybrids will probably allow most people to forget numbers 1, 2 and 3.

    I looked at the EFuel100 homepage Brad Miller suggested. $9995 for the unit plus you have to buy bags of industrial sugar with yeast already added. I couldn’t find a price for the industrial sugar anywhere on the website. How about a simple break-even analysis, guys? Or is there no break-even? The inventors also claim their machine will cheaply convert drinking alcohol to ethanol for your car. Sorry, I prefer to drink my drinking alcohol!

  3. EFuel100 is creating a home refueling station using ethanol. The website is http://www.efuel100.com . You may want to look into interviewing the people behind that company. It is interesting. The major hurdle they are coming across is a distribution channel for non-consumable raw suger. They home processing station requires WAaer, sugar and yeast.

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