Date of Award


Document Type

Master's report

Degree Name

Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering (MS)

College, School or Department Name

Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics


Jeffrey Naber


Jeremy Worm


This report summarizes the work done for the Vehicle Powertrain Modeling and Design Problem Proposal portion of the EcoCAR3 proposal as specified in the Request for Proposal from Argonne National Laboratory.

The results of the modeling exercises presented in the proposal showed that:

  • An average conventional vehicle powered by a combustion engine could not meet the energy consumption target when the engine was sized to meet the acceleration target, due the relatively low thermal efficiency of the spark ignition engine.

  • A battery electric vehicle could not meet the required range target of 320 km while keeping the vehicle weight below the gross vehicle weight rating of 2000 kg. This was due to the low energy density of the batteries which necessitated a large, and heavy, battery pack to provide enough energy to meet the range target.

  • A series hybrid electric vehicle has the potential to meet the acceleration and energy consumption parameters when the components are optimally sized.

  • A parallel hybrid electric vehicle has less energy conversion losses than a series hybrid electric vehicle which results in greater overall efficiency, lower energy consumption, and less emissions.

For EcoCAR3, Michigan Tech proposes to develop a plug-in parallel hybrid vehicle (PPHEV) powered by a small Diesel engine operating on B20 Bio-Diesel fuel. This architecture was chosen over other options due to its compact design, lower cost, and its ability to provide performance levels and energy efficiency that meet or exceed the design targets. While this powertrain configuration requires a more complex control system and strategy than others, the student engineering team at Michigan Tech has significant recent experience with this architecture and has confidence that it will perform well in the events planned for the EcoCAR3 competition.