Kennesaw Motorsports- Prototype EV Project

The Team

Since the 1980's, our team has been operating at various levels, being used as a training ground to create wonderful engineers. In 2016, a joint project between two University teams, our FSAE team, as well as the Electric Vehicle Team set out to create an EV chassis for the growing electric category for FSAE. Since then, we have been able to complete one chassis, retired it, and are now designing and manufacturing another with the lessons learned from it. Our target for this season is to finish, test, and compete this new design, using all that we have learned since the previous car's retirement.


The Car

The car is a small formula type vehicle, open canopy, open wheel. For the size, it's quite powerful as well, sporting a powertrain that's capable of outputting ~100kW (limited to 80kW for the competitions we compete in) to the rear of the car. This is powered from a 400V, 9kWh battery.



The Electronics

Due to the very custom environment that we are having to work in, as well as having to rely on custom components to save cost, the vast majority of our electronics is custom. There's currently only four components that we don't make, two of which we get at a major discount specifically for the competition, and two of which we currently do not have the time and experience to design ourselves. The rest we however do design ourselves. This includes all of our data acquisition needs. Here's a short list of some of the circuits we have designed:


VCU

The Vehicle Control Unit (VCU) is our main hub for data on the car. Driver controls feed into this circuit to be distributed elsewhere in the car as digital data. As noted various nodes of analog inputs and outputs feeds into the VCU to monitor various ontrols and some specific sensing points on the car. It also have several digital outputs, most of which are CAN, to interface with other microcontrollers all over the car. There is also a major safety circuit to shutdown the car automatically if there is anything wrong, and ensure proper startup, which passes through the VCU.




Fan Controller

We needed a custom fan Controller that not only could provide power to 12 fans as a fan hub to cool the 576 battery cells in our accumulator, as well as needed to be able to control all 12 fans individually, but it needed to be able to tap into an already existing CANBus. Thus, our custom fan controller was created to do all of such, while be small enough to fit the form factor that we needed. In addition, included is an STM32 microcontroller to feed the fan controller IC's with an algorithm that will allow us to intelligently cool the batteries in such a way that we can keep the batteries at the optimal temperature as well as spin up and down the fans, saving power in both areas.


2 Stage DC/DC

We needed to implement a 2 Stage DC/DC module on our car for two reaShot sons:

  • We needed to have the ability to have both 12 and 24V power. 12V is our main Grounded Low Voltage (GLV) and the vast majority of the circuits on our car uses it. However, our water pump to cool both our motor and inverter is a 24V pump, and thus we needed to have a 24V power delivery system, in which we decided would be through the DC/DC module
  • We undersized our GLV battery to save weight, but to recharge it, we needed to funnel power from our main battery pack into it. Thus, we have a specific connector on the DC/DC module to connect to it to recharge the battery.



Support from PCBWay on this project would be such a major help. For one, a lot of other PCB Fabricators do not have nearly the amount of options that PCBWay has, and as such, getting access to these options would allow us a lot more flexibility on what kind of boards we could possibly make (adding a metal core to our DC/DC module for even better thermal cooling for instance). On top of this, PCBWay seems to be class leading in lead times even more more simple topologies like basic 4 layer boards. This will mean that we can very quickly prototype boards, something important to us, as time is a premium, scarce resource for this team. Being able to have quick turnaround times on prototypes will not only help us on building out our next EV, but also be able to test our running combustion cars with new data acquisition systems.



Shot of one of our drivers driving the latest Combustion car at a competition in Pittsburg


Feel free to contact us at ksumotorsport@gmail.com or dspicer1@students.kennesaw.edu for any questions. Also, follow us on instagram @kennesawmotorsports

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