The University of Idaho is entering the third year of the Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) FutureTruck initiative to convert a full-sized sport utility vehicle to alternative propulsion. The goal of this project not only includes the conversion process, but will also include the development of new component technology, vehicle modeling and design software, and the education of students into industry-ready engineers. This proposal for UTC funding seeks to apply time-proven organizational structure, responsibilities, and functions from industry to the innovative process of developing ideas at the University of Idaho.
This next year the UI will receive a 2002 Ford Explorer for conversion. Previous year conversions were for a series hybrid-electric. Our approach for this next year will be to build on our experience in developing a parallel hybrid-electric vehicle. New technologies will include control strategies, hardware, and software, demonstration of clean internal combustion engines, GPS logic for management of energy and power, and real-time data acquisition capability. The project will be used to better prepare students for their careers and will improve the overall success of the project. The resulting team diversity and combined efforts will have a synergistic effect. Overall the electric vehicle work has grown from solely an undergraduate competition into something that is heavily integrated into our research program with a strong emphasis on developing the vehicle and transportation engineers of the future.