Questions Going Forward

A project log for Power Pack: Diversifying the Automobile

Powering the future is about diversifying our energy sources, including the vehicles that power or lives.

james-neeJames Nee 04/23/2016 at 19:370 Comments

This weeklong sprint has been really helpful in building up the design and getting the idea to a point where at least I can communicate what I hope it will do. That said, the journey ahead is still long and there are plenty of other unforeseen questions to answer. In meantime, however, there are plenty of questions I know to ask and it would be good to post them up here for future reference.

  1. Charger - will there be a charger in each module or one for the whole vehicle? My current thought is that one per vehicle is the way to go. Having a charger separate from the module is cost efficient, but can make the wiring more complex. Additionally, given that there will be a junction box where all the modules connect, that traction box could be design for selective bi-directional current flow, using relays to disconnect modules that are not designed to receive current (i.e. internal combustion engines). This also h
  2. Climate control - AC and heater systems are pretty standard in vehicles, but do not use standard parts. Each vehicle will have it's own condense, pump, and compressor set-up and attempting to re-use existing parts may be unfeasible. While it would certainly be ideal to use existing hardware to minimize prototyping costs, in the long run it would be best to have it included in the add-on frame (more on that in the next project log). This way the entire engine bay can be cleared and the add-on frame includes all the optional features like heating, AC, 12V accessories, and so on.
  3. Attaching the sub-frame - I realized that I have not created a post on the sub-frame design so I will be posting that in the next project log, but a necessary element of this platform is a way to seat the modules in the engine bay! Currently, the sub-frame is relatively straightforward design; a specialized rack that will seat 3 modules and specialized additions like AC or heater units. The issue is how does the sub-frame attach to the vehicle chassis? Is it welded, bolted, or bonded? Additionally, further investigation should be done to determine the effect of this addition on frame stiffness and corner weights and think about the impacts on vehicle dynamics, because why build a car that handles worse than it's original design?

These are a few questions that I still have rolling around in my mind, but have neither the time or energy to answer fully at this time. As the project progresses, I definitely will dive deep into exploring these topics and evolve the platform accordingly.