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Electric Vehicle Project

Course Stats

Instructor(s): Paul Klenk

Units: 3

Semester Offered: Fall


(Official Nicholas School course description link)
This is an undergraduate-level engineering course, designed to give students practical experience in the conversion of a conventional vehicle to electric drive.  As a project-based course, there are no tests.  Grades are determined by progress on the team project, the write-up due at the end of the semester, and another individual research paper and presentation.  The course consists of a lecture section, and a lab section held at the electric vehicle garage on campus.

Topics covered include:

  • History of electric vehicles
  • Selecting a vehicle for EV conversion, and battery considerations
  • Chassis and weight distribution
  • Modeling vehicle movement
  • DC electric motors
  • AC electric motors
  • Controllers
  • Auxillary electrical systems
  • Battery types
  • Charging
  • Fuel cell technology
  • Hybrid systems
  • Environmental implications of electric vehicles
  • The market for electric vehicles
  • Environmental economics of electric vehicles

Skills and Career Applications

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Registration Advice

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Student Opinions

Fall 2008 was Dr. Klenk's first time teaching this course, so there were a few hiccups.  And unfortunately, it is underfunded, so you won't be working in a high-tech garage on state-of-the-art electric vehicles.  However, if you are mechanically inclined and enjoy working on vehicles, you'll likely enjoy this class.  The time commitment is high, due to time in the EV garage (in addition to the hour and 15 minute lecture section twice a week).  You'll need some knowledge in electric circuits for the lecture to make sense to you, but that's not as necessary for the project work (which actually determines your grade).  The class is mostly undergraduates.

The Instructor's Take...

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