Electric vehicles (EVs) are known for their low pollution, high efficiency, and smooth control. It is expected that in the near future the number of electric vehicles will increase. Research in the area of EVs is important to the UAE as it fits in to the UAE Green Agenda 2015-2030. The electric vehicle technology is still in the early stages and there is lot of scope for research and improvement in the electric vehicle technology. High-density battery packs, efficient power conversion and power management, and efficient and cheaper drive train are some of the major challenges that need to be addressed for the success of EV technology.
Majority of the EVs use permanent magnet motors as prime movers in the drive train of the EVs. Permanent magnets are compact in size and efficient but expensive. Permanent magnets are made up of rare earth materials and these are available in limited quantity and as the number of vehicles increase the cost of these magnets will rise exponentially. Therefore, there is a need to develop an alternate drive technology based on other motors like induction motors or switched reluctance motors.
This research proposal aims at developing a cost-effective drive train based on induction motors. Proper estimation of rotor and stator resistance and flux estimation, developing compact and efficient power converters, distributed drive train using in wheel type drive, better utilization of the battery voltage using dual fed drive and increased drive range with efficient regenerative breaking are some of the objectives of the proposed research proposal.
A challenge in using induction motor is the high DC bus voltage requirement, therefore a suitable high gain DC to DC converter to interface the low voltage battery bank to the high voltage DC bus of the inverter will be developed. This DC-DC converter need to be bidirectional for regenerative breaking. A mathematical model of the drive technology will be developed and verified through computer simulation. A scaled down model of the EV drive train will be designed to verify the proposed improvement experimentally.
The power electronics research laboratory at Khalifa University has the necessary infrastructure and facility to execute the above project. The research team has the necessary background and expertise, and is confident on the successful completion of the project in the scheduled time frame. The research team will consist of graduate and undergraduate student researchers (with preference to UAE nationals) and will be led by a team of three experienced faculty members, two of which are UAE nationals. The successful completion of this project will prove the feasibility of using induction motor as the prime mover in the drive train of EVs.