The electrical team is responsible for designing, fabricating, installing, and configuring the various electrical power systems and hardware throughout the car. Systems include the lithium-ion battery pack and protection system, solar array for battery recharging, motor and motor controller interfacing, and high and low voltage supplies. To maintain and service these systems, the electrical team has also created testing equipment and procedures to keep the car running smoothly. Here is a list of the ongoing projects for our new car, BeVolt.
Electrical Team Lead: Corey Hulse
Electrical Team Advisers: Dr. Gary Hallock, Dr. Jim Wiley, Fred Engelkemeir (B.S. ; M.S. ; Ph.D., UT ECE), Jerome Powell (B.S., UT ECE) UT-SVT alumnus
Solar Array and Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT)
Team Lead: Silvia Arzate
The solar array team is responsible to produce the array that will be powering BeVolt. The array is an integration of the subarrays. Each subarray is made-out of different sizes of modules according to the shape of BeVolt top surface body. Array team carefully assemble each module following a process that includes but is not limited to testing, soldering, and laminating certain number of Sunpower solar cells. The cells are laid in series to output the most power out of each module. Each module is interconnected is series with other modules to form a subarray after the process is completed and each one has been tested and satisfactorily provided the expected power.
Team Lead: Kaela Todd
BeVolt utilize lithium-ion cells to form a high voltage battery pack that supplies the power needed to run the vehicle. Battery Team test and designs charging electronics, battery pack, and power delivery electronics. We test a great deal of cells in order to maximize their expected performance and durability. This is also a large factor in the make and model of batteries we use. The power electronics we research help maintain several different bus voltages and promise a continuous source for the remainder of the car's devices.
Battery Protection System (BPS)
Team Lead: Richard Li
Although lithium-ion phosphate cells have a comparatively greater energy density ratio than other battery chemical make ups, they are very pesky and dangerous to deal with. To ensure our batteries are always operating within a safe environment and to accord by the ASC/FSGP regulations, we have a battery protection system that monitors our high-power system to ensure that they are operating within safe thresholds and to isolate the batteries in the event of a fault. Besides monitoring the batteries, the BPS system also includes a battery management system that deals with balancing and charging the cells, making sure that they are working at their optimal state. Our system deals heavily in embedded systems, software implementation, scripting, PCB designs and manufacture, integrated circuits, communication systems, and circuit theory. We are currently in the process of manufacturing boards of our pre-existing system and starting on designing a new BPS for the next generation of solar cars.
Motor and Motor Controller Interfacing
Team Leads: Haven Trahan, Wesley White, and Clive Unger
We are still using a three-wheeled car design and are currently raising funds to purchase a new NGM motor and a Tritium Wave Sculptor motor controller. There is a motor controller concurrently being developed by the team.
DashboardTeam Lead: Armin Taher
To know what the electrical driver interface or dashboard team does, it is helpful to think about all the interactions that the driver has with a car. From left and right signals, back up camera, and horn to speedometer, and all the safety lights such as tire pressure is what the team designs. The interface team makes sure that driver has the best knowledge of what he/she is doing to assure their safety and safety of the car.
Team Lead: Artin Taher
To make sure that our solar car is working properly, and figure out the ways to save the charge of the car for a longer period, it is important to monitor the data from outside of the car during the race. To read data from the car, and storing them on a server is what the telemetry team does. The team makes sure that there are sensors in critical locations of the car, and then sends the data received from those sensors to an outside source to store the values and show them on a local website designed by the team.