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