Subaru BRZ Plug-In: Mississippi State’s Car Of The Future

11 months ago by Jay Cole 12

Subaru BRZ Plug-In (Image: Hunter Hart)

Subaru BRZ Plug-In (Image: Hunter Hart)

Ok, who doesn’t want their own plug-in Subaru BRZ plug-in right now? Well MSU (Mississippi State University) has one!   

Perhaps you could convince them to part ways with the University’s self-entitled “Car of the Future” after just having it on display this week in Detroit, Michigan at the SAE World Congress…but we kinda doubt it.

Speaking with project leader Matthew Doude, who is the business development officer for CAVS (Center for Advanced Vehicular Systems), he let us in on the project “where university expertise is applied to solving industrial research and development challenges, on time and under budget.”

Subaru BRZ Plug-In Concept By MSU (Image: Hunter Hart)

Subaru BRZ Plug-In Concept By MSU (Image: Hunter Hart)

Doude on the plug-in Subaru BRZ project:

The powertrain is a plug-in series hybrid, currently being controlled as an E-REV, but not necessarily locked into the E-REV configuration. We use patented control algorithms like model predictive control to recognize past driving and predict future driving; this helps us optimize usage of the range-extender and could even trigger a switch to blended-mode operation under certain conditions, if we recognize that charging is not imminent.

Under The Hood Of The Subaru BRZ PHEV (Image: Hunter Hart)

Under The Hood Of The Subaru BRZ PHEV (Image: Hunter Hart)

The battery modules and BMS are from A123 Systems. The battery is 12.7 kWh of useable energy, providing at least 50 miles of combined city/highway cycle AER. The pack was completely designed in-house and weighs just 374 lb, thanks to technologies like our proprietary liquid cooling mechanism.

The vehicle is RWD, powered by a twin-motor electric drive unit from Linamar. This allows us to have independent wheel active torque vectoring. We’re not releasing total motor power right now, but it is enough to power the vehicle from 0-60 in about 5.7 s, which is a second faster than the stock BRZ. It is full-function electric while in charge depleting mode.

Lightweight materials have been applied throughout the vehicle, including a custom designed cast magnesium rear subframe, which is 22 lb lighter than that stock steel subframe while supporting a large electric drive unit. Total vehicle mass is 2,904 lb, which is only ~80 heavier than a stock automatic transmission BRZ, despite carrying three e-machines, an engine, and enough battery to go 50 miles.

The engine is a two-cylinder, 850 cc Textron engine, coupled to a YASA 100 kW generator. These together make a very compact range-extender package.

Statistical Comparison For The Subaru BRZ PHEV

Statistical Comparison For The Subaru BRZ PHEV

"Car Of The Future"

“Car Of The Future”

And the reason behind the project?

Why did we do it? We are demonstrating the range of automotive design and prototyping capabilities at the Center for Advanced Vehicular Systems at Mississippi State. We are the same center that brought you the 118 mpg SUV a few years ago.

Despite being at a university, the Center for Advanced Vehicular Systems does a lot of R&D with industry and we are always looking for new collaborations. There’s just no better way to prepare students for careers in the auto industry.

Our congrats to the MSU/CAVS team, and our thanks to Matt Doude for taking the time to give us all the details behind the project!

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12 responses to "Subaru BRZ Plug-In: Mississippi State’s Car Of The Future"

  1. This is awesome!!! Can you guys come do this to our 2011 Subaru Forester next? Love the car, it just unfortunately burns gas for all our short daily trips! 80-100km AER sounds awesome to me 🙂

  2. Nate says:

    Nice work.

  3. fotomoto says:

    Great job! Would like to see their battery packaging solution.

  4. Daniel says:

    Build and sell it ALREADY!!

  5. Aaron says:

    Hey Toyota & Subaru! Why can’t YOU build this?

    1. beta995 says:

      Lack of vision?
      Mississippi Shames Toyota-Subaru.

  6. Speculawyer says:

    A test project E-rev? Are we in the 2000’s?

    1. All-Purpose Guru says:

      Built by *students*? With comparable performance to cars being sold today?

      Obviously you were in a different 2000s than I was.

  7. SparkEV says:

    Excellent article for comparing against similar gas cars, not just against other EV or PH (except i8). In fact, it didn’t even bring up Volt or i3REx. Not a fan of PH, but I can overlook it with performance like that. Subaru should mass produce it as BRZ performance package.

  8. James says:

    Great project. Leaves me with lots of questions…Namely their BRZ EREV’s performance in CS mode.

    Impressive that college students built it, but GM already has an EREV that goes further on electricity and seats 4 3/4. This means the big story here is a 0-60 time 1 second faster than the gas version on a car that would cost much more than the current ICE production model.

    Just how much do the electric motors and 2 cylinder ICE work together and when? It could be after the battery pack is depleted, this car could be a real slug.

  9. Spider-Dan says:

    I’d buy it.

  10. Phr3d says:

    NI-ice work Miss!

    BUILD it, Subu!