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The Continued Design and Development of the University of California, Davis FutureCar


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Suggested Citation:
Johnston, Brian, Timothy McGoldrick, David Funston, Harry Kwan, Mark Alexander, Frank Alioto, Nicolas Culaud, Oliver Lang, H. A. Mergen, Richard Carlson, Andrew A. Frank, Andrew Burke (1998) The Continued Design and Development of the University of California, Davis FutureCar. Society of Automotive Engineers Technical Paper Series (980487)

Presented at International Congress & Exposition, Detroit, MI

Session: Developing New Technology through Student Design Competitions

The UC Davis FutureCar Team has redesigned a 1996 Ford Taurus as a parallel hybrid electric vehicle with the goals of tripling the fuel economy, achieving California ultra low emissions levels (ULEV), and qualifying for partial zero emissions vehicle (ZEV) credits in California. These goals were approached using a highly efficient powertrain, reducing component weight, and improving stock aerodynamics. A charge depletion driving strategy was chosen to maximize energy economy and provide substantial all-electric operating capabilities. The UC Davis FutureCar couples a Honda 660 cc gasoline engine and a UNIQ Mobility 48 kW-peak brushless permanent magnet motor within a compact, lightweight, and reliable powertrain. The motor is powered by a 15.4 kWh Ovonic Nickel Metal Hydride battery pack. The body of the vehicle has been reshaped using carbon fiber composite panels to improve airflow characteristics and reduce weight. At the 1997 FutureCar Challenge, the vehicle achieved an equivalent fuel consumption of 5.64 L/100 km (41.7 mpg) on the federal urban driving schedule and 3.74 L/100 km (62.8 mpg) on the federal highway driving schedule for a combined fuel consumption of 4.79 L/100 km (49.1 mpg). This represents a doubling of the stock vehicle's fuel economy. Driving range exceeded 400 km on the combined driving schedules. The vehicle accelerates from 0 to 100 kph in 14.4 seconds and has an all-electric range of 105 km.