Engineering Building A103Q
Fort Collins, CO 80523
Faculty Advisors: Dr. Thomas Bradley
Team Leaders: Benjamin Geller
Communication Managers: Emily Keats
Business Manager: Joseph Gerdom
Colorado State University's Vehicle Innovation Team (CSU VIT) consists of two faculty advisors, four graduate students, and 33 undergraduates who are dedicated to developing and building innovative, green automotive technologies. Together, these diverse team members have decades of experience in automotive and energy research and bring to the project their expertise in a variety of areas, including manufacturing, systems engineering, mechanical engineering, electrical and computer engineering, and design. The team works out of CSU’s Motorsports Engineering Research Center, which supports students in the fields of vehicle dynamics, vehicle structures and materials, vehicle aerodynamics, hybrid powertrain system design, and vehicle-level control.
The CSU VIT has designed and is building a fuel cell plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (FCPHEV). This fully functioning, front-wheel-drive electric vehicle will be powered by a Unique Mobility 145 kW electric motor and a 18.9 kWh lithium-ion battery from A123 Systems. With these components, the vehicle will have up to 55 miles of all electric range for commutes and short trips. For longer trips, a small, high-efficiency, hydrogen fuel cell will supply additional energy to achieve a total driving range of more than 200 miles.
Although the selected architecture does present a myriad of design challenges, its advantages are significant. Compared to other PHEV technologies, the FCPHEV’s high efficiency, low well-to-wheel emissions, and negligible use of petroleum make it superior. Compared to pure electric vehicles, the hydrogen system not only provides additional driving range but also enables fast refueling while maintaining zero tailpipe emissions. This unique combination of advantages embodies the CSU team’s vision for the future of transportation: a vehicle with high efficiency, low emissions, and full functionality.