EV Component Research Alive In Michigan

It is easy to believe that any EV battery and components progress we will see will come from China, especially when considering the issues companies like A123 Systems are going through. But it could be that nothing is further from the truth.

Since it was established just over a year ago, Michigan-based Kettering University’s Advanced Power Electronics Lab (APEL) continues to become a major industry research hub on campus.

The latest contract for the lab is from FEV Inc., an international company that specializes in the design and development of internal combustion engines, conventional, electric and alternative vehicle drive systems, and energy technology. It is furthermore a supplier of advanced testing and instrumentation products and services.

APEL is part of Kettering’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

FEV Inc. has partnered with Kettering on a three-month contract to design a control board for a 160-kilowatt inverter for a Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV).

The contract sponsors two graduate students, Chenguang Jiang and Chen Duan, to work on the project. “This is a very high-powered inverter,” Jiang said. “It would be for a bus or truck.”

The graduate students working on the project under the supervision of Dr. Kevin Bai, assistant professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, will design the control board and develop the software to run it, then test its functionality on smaller motors, gradually moving up to higher powered ones.

The team began working on the research in September.

Bai said the APEL lab is a good platform to display Kettering’s work with power electronics. “All of the people working in the lab have a power electronics background,” Bai said. “The advantage of a power electronics lab lies on the ease of managing all the staffs as they work.”

Since it opened, Bai and students in the lab have worked on contracts for Chrysler, Magna E-Car and Progressive Dynamics, and Tenneco.

  • db

    I guarantee all the graduate students are from China, though.