The Development of a Fourth Generation Hybrid Electric Vehicle at West Virginia University 2001-01-0682
As a part of the FutureTruck 2000 advanced technology student vehicle competition sponsored by the US Department of Energy and General Motors, West Virginia University has converted a full-size sport utility vehicle into a high fuel efficiency, low emissions vehicle. The environmental impact of the Chevrolet Suburban SUV, in terms of both greenhouse gas emissions and exhaust emissions, was reduced through hybridization without losing any of the functionality and utility of the base vehicle. The approach taken was one of using a high efficiency, state-of-the-art direct injection, turbocharged diesel engine coupled to a high output electric traction motor for power assist and to recover regenerative braking energy. The vehicle employs a state-of-the-art combination lean NOx catalyst, oxidation catalyst and particulate filter to ensure low exhaust emissions. Specific attention was paid to maintaining the off-road and four wheel drive capability of the vehicle, as well as its load carrying and towing features. The result is a readily manufacturable, safe and crashworthy vehicle that retains the consumer acceptability attributes of the stock vehicle. The WVU FutureTruck represents a significant step forward in the design of low environmental impact sport utilities and light trucks for the 21st century, noting that these vehicles now constitute over 50% of all new vehicles sold in the US.