Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Engineering Students Turn Vintage MGB Into Electric Car

14.09.2009
The year was 1984. Roger Dougal, a newly minted Ph.D. in electrical engineering, was beginning his career in the University of South Carolina’s College of Engineering.

He was the new owner of a 1972 MGB – a red convertible, perfect for life in the Palmetto State, where he could zip along the highways and city streets with the car’s top down practically year-round. Lightweight with easy handling, the MGB was a snazzy roadster for a young professor on the go.

But that was, shall we say, soooo last century.

Fast forward about two dozen years. Now internationally recognized for his research on power sources and systems, Dougal still loves cars and has added a passion for sailboats. The MGB was collecting dust – and a few leaves – in his garage. But the professor’s ongoing curiosity about all things auto and electrical meant one thing: He had to find out if he could build an electric car.

“I’ve always played with cars as a hobby,” said Dougal , who has a touch of gray in his hair as the years have rolled on. “I bought the car to rebuild it, but just ran out of time. I decided to do something useful.”

He took the car out of retirement and turned it over to electrical engineering students at the University of South Carolina’s College of Engineering and Computing. He gave them the opportunity to turn the British Leyland Motor Corp. vehicle into a car of the 21st century – a car not run on “petrol,” but electricity.

And they have. The “Electric MG,” as it’s called, is a reality.

“It can go really fast for short distances,” said Dougal, who estimates that about $10,000 has been spent in making the changes.

About 15 students have worked on the car since Dougal began the great experiment, which has left some MGB fans aghast. But the professor was determined to create an electric vehicle in the machine shop of the College of Engineering and Computing.

“I said, ‘We can do this before GM can,’ ” said Dougal, who estimates that he and several groups of students have worked on the project for about 18 months. “It didn’t move along quite as fast as I’d planned. When you think about how many people are working at the major auto manufacturers, we’ve probably made pretty good progress.”

But much of the student ingenuity and labor was volunteered. Some students have received course credit for their work. A few have received payment.

Tyler Price, a senior from Lexington, S.C., is one of the students working on the car, which has had the convertible top removed and a roll bar added.

The original engine is in Dougal’s garage and has been replaced by an AC motor with a custom driveshaft. In its place is a bank of more than 100 supercapacitors, resembling soft drink cans that have been encased in a plastic box and loaded into the trunk for the power source. A lithium battery will be added later and coupled with the supercapacitor bank to improve range and efficiency.

“The changes take the car from one century to another,” said Price. “Like all projects, it’s been an evolution.”

The experience has shown Price that electric vehicles can be a reality.

“I believe we’re doing something that will be used. We’re ahead of the curve. Only a few universities are doing what we’ve done,” he said.

The car is waiting on some modifications, including a paint job, LED lamps to replace the headlights, a sports windshield and new carpet. Because it’s electric, the car sounds much like a golf cart. The students want to add acoustics to give the MGB-EV, as they call it, a sound more closely resembling a car.

Nevertheless, the car can be driven – just not on a highway yet, Price said.

Dougal and the student team, which includes undergraduate Robbie Motte of Bonneau and graduate student Steven Kowski of St. Petersburg, Fla., are looking forward to testing it for speed, acceleration and economy.

“This was a famous British sports car back in its day,” said Price, who wasn’t born when Dougal acquired the car. “Now, it will have some fame in another century.”

Karen Petit | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.sc.edu/

More articles from Power and Electrical Engineering:

nachricht Fraunhofer ISE Pushes World Record for Multicrystalline Silicon Solar Cells to 22.3 Percent
25.09.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Solare Energiesysteme ISE

nachricht Producing electricity during flight
20.09.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

All articles from Power and Electrical Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: LaserTAB: More efficient and precise contacts thanks to human-robot collaboration

At the productronica trade fair in Munich this November, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be presenting Laser-Based Tape-Automated Bonding, LaserTAB for short. The experts from Aachen will be demonstrating how new battery cells and power electronics can be micro-welded more efficiently and precisely than ever before thanks to new optics and robot support.

Fraunhofer ILT from Aachen relies on a clever combination of robotics and a laser scanner with new optics as well as process monitoring, which it has developed...

Im Focus: The pyrenoid is a carbon-fixing liquid droplet

Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.

A warming planet

Im Focus: Highly precise wiring in the Cerebral Cortex

Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.

The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...

Im Focus: Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

New technique promises tunable laser devices

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Fraunhofer ISE Pushes World Record for Multicrystalline Silicon Solar Cells to 22.3 Percent

25.09.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Usher syndrome: Gene therapy restores hearing and balance

25.09.2017 | Health and Medicine

An international team of physicists a coherent amplification effect in laser excited dielectrics

25.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>