EVT hits the road

Students pursue an all-electric vehicle with rapid recharge

Driving in Cambridge

EVT students test drive their electric vehicle in Cambridge, MA

If you take the 2010 Mercury Milan modified by the MIT Electric Vehicle Team (EVT) out for a spin, you might easily mistake it for a typical sedan—minus the engine noise, of course. This battery-powered conversion, dubbed “elEVen,” comfortably seats four adults, does 0 to 60 in nine seconds with a top speed of 100 mph, has a range of 65 miles (with the ultimate goal of 200 miles), and recharges in less than 11 minutes.

A conversion of the Ford CD3 platform—the core of the Ford Fusion, Lincoln MKZ, and Mercury Milan—the elEVen demonstrates how an all-electric vehicle can meet the needs of the average driver and perform on a par with conventionalcars under real-world operating conditions. “Every component of the drive train conversion was designed, machined, and installed by EVT members,” says MechE senior Radu Gogoana. “That includes the quadchain 12,000 rpm speed reducer.”

The lithium-ion battery pack at the heart of the elEVen is a product of A123Systems, a company cofounded by MIT professor Yet-Ming Chiang and MIT Sloan alumnus Ric Fulop SF ’06. The battery is ideal for automotive applications because its lithium-ion phosphate cells have extremely low internal resistance, thus can be recharged rapidly. They are also chemically stable, which helps make them safe for consumer use.

Working on the Engine

Mechanical Engineering sophomore Mike Nawrot trimming
the alignment of the 250 horsepower drivetrain

“The EVT’s primary motivation is to demonstrate the potential of new battery and electric drive technologies,” explains Gogoana. “We provide research and educational opportunities for MIT students, present our research at energy, transportation, and technical events, and teach classes for middle school and high school students. We truly believe that by getting the word out we can accelerate the transition to electric vehicles.”

The EVT is partially supported by the MIT Deptartment of Mechanical Engineering. The students are actively seeking new sponsors to fund further work on the elEVen project through component donations and financial support.meche logo

Learn more about the EVT’s work and its fleet of electric vehicles at http://web.mit.edu/evt.