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 Researchers use light to remotely control curvature of plastics
23.03.2017 | North Carolina State University

nachricht TU Graz researchers show that enzyme function inhibits battery ageing
21.03.2017 | Technische Universität Graz

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: A Challenging European Research Project to Develop New Tiny Microscopes

The Institute of Semiconductor Technology and the Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, both members of the Laboratory for Emerging Nanometrology (LENA), at Technische Universität Braunschweig are partners in a new European research project entitled ChipScope, which aims to develop a completely new and extremely small optical microscope capable of observing the interior of living cells in real time. A consortium of 7 partners from 5 countries will tackle this issue with very ambitious objectives during a four-year research program.

To demonstrate the usefulness of this new scientific tool, at the end of the project the developed chip-sized microscope will be used to observe in real-time...

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Transport of molecular motors into cilia

28.03.2017 | Life Sciences

A novel hybrid UAV that may change the way people operate drones

28.03.2017 | Information Technology

NASA spacecraft investigate clues in radiation belts

28.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>