The Electrical Team, combining elements of powertrain and control electronics making up the backbone of the electric car. This team is responsible for translating the driver control inputs to actual movement. There are three main components to this – batteries, motor, and controller.
The battery holds the energy that will be supplying almost all the high voltage electronic components on the car with power. The configuration of the battery cells must be specifically designed with the rest of the parts in mind. Other design considerations include battery chemical composition, discharge current and capacity.
The controller is the brains of the entire car and acts as an intermediary between the battery and motor. It measures numerous parameters such as motor temperature and driver accelerator input and determines the precise amount of current to deliver to the motor. It also facilitates features such as regenerative braking which causes the motor to simulate a braking effect and allow the batteries to be recharged – turning the motor effectively into a generator.
The motor is the beast doing the heavy lifting. It is tied into the high voltage line and draws large amounts of current in order to spin a drive shaft. Careful consideration is required in accurately determining what ratios are required with the other mechanical parts that translate this spinning shaft into the wheels turning.
A final and crucial aspect of the design is safety. All design choices must keep safety as a top priority. Wiring must be capable of dissipating the heat generated by the motor. There must be an adequate number of fall-back mechanisms to cut power to both the controller and motor. Safety of the driver and all members of UCDFS and the public is paramount to all design decisions made.