Vehicle Design

Year One

In the first year of EcoCAR 2, the PSU AVT will use math-based design tools, the same ones that global vehicle manufacturers like GM use, to compare and select an advanced vehicle powertrain that meets the goals of the competition for their 2013 Chevrolet Malibu platform. Teams also use software to ensure that their chosen components fit into their vehicle and that the electrical, mechanical and software systems function properly. Teams also use software-in-the-loop (SIL) and hardware-in-the-loop (HIL) to better develop controls and subsystems.

Year Two

In the second year of EcoCAR 2, the team will disassemble the donated Malibu and implement all the components designed in Year One. Team members will replace the powertrain of the stock, gasoline vehicle and will convert it into a running Series Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle in a few short months.

Penn State’s EcoCAR 2 Vehicle Architecture

The PSU AVT architecture consists of an E85 Series Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV). The vehicle will utilize a front-wheel drive system powered by a Magna E-drive with an approximately 90kW maximum electric drive which will supply the propulsion for the converted 2013 Chevrolet Malibu. For an Auxiliary Power Unit (APU), the PSU AVT will utilize a naturally aspirated Weber MPE 750 engine, fueled with E85 (85/15 % v/v ethanol/gasoline), coupled to a UQM PowerPhase 75 generator to supply DC power to the high voltage bus. A123 donated Lithium Iron Phosphate batteries will form the basis for the energy storage system (ESS).



Major Vehicle Highlights

Internal Combustion Engine

The Malibu will include a Weber MPE 750 EPA certified, naturally aspirated, gasoline engine made by Weber Motor based in Markdorf, Germany. The Weber MPE 750 produces 52.5 kW of power at 8000 RPM, and a maximum torque of 70 Nm at 7000 RPM. The engine includes intake system, throttle body, engine controller unit (ECU), dry sump oil tank, coolant rail, oil cooler, fasteners, and engine wiring harness. The engine will required to be converted from E10 (10/90 % v/v ethanol/gasoline) to E85. Many modifications to the MPE 750 Weber engine will be required within this conversion such as replacement of components that degrade and are not compatible with high ethanol blends, engine configuration changes in order to increase power output without sacrificing fuel economy and implementation of a detailed control, calibration and engine parameters mapping strategy.


The Malibu will include a UQM PowerPhase 75 as the generator to couple to the Weber MPE 750 engine. The PowerPhase 75 is produce by UQM Technologies based in Longmont, Colorado. The PowerPhase 75 Generator has very advantages such as an easy interface to the CAN network already in the vehicle, very robust technology and experience from part of the team on previous competitions.

Electric Drive Motor

The PSU AVT has selected the Magna E-Drive as the Propulsion Unit to use for EcoCAR 2.  This component will obtained by in-kind donation from Magna International based out of Ontario. The Magna E-Drive is easy to package due to the small size and also is CAN controllable, which lends itself very well to PSU AVT’s abilities.

Battery Pack

The PSU AVT will utilize a battery pack donation from A123 Systems in the 2013 Chevrolet Malibu.  The exact version and number of battery modules will be determined in subsequent design cycles. This information will then be reviewed with A123 personnel during a Detailed Design Review.

Charging System

The PSU AVT has selected a Brusa charger that will charge the Chevrolet Malibu from any home or garage space. The Brusa will allow consumers simple, safe and efficient charging capabilities. The PSU AVT has selected Brusa in past competitions because of their high quality charging systems and their simplicity for any level of user.