Within a single century, personal transportation has progressed from the horse and buggy to nearly a billion private automobiles. It is projected that the need for personal mobility will grow even faster, as large numbers of people are lifted out of poverty in developing countries and demand transportation. Emissions from oil-burning automobiles clog our air and contribute to global warming. For all of these reasons, finding an alternative to oil for private transportation is imperative. Although several alternatives can propel a car, only one is readily available today: Electricity.
With the introduction of electric propulsion, a completely new drivetrain is introduced in the vehicle requiring multidisciplinary research into system components. The Electric vehicle system is comprised of electric motor, power electronics converters, and energy storage devices such as batteries. In addition, the overall system must be optimized to maximize overall system efficiency. Finally, to reduce the overall transportation emissions, the vehicle energy storage device should be recharged at times when the grid power production is most efficient and non-polluting.
NCSU research on electric vehicle systems focuses on extending the vehicle range by developing more efficient subsystems and including storage systems with higher energy and power densities. Another research topic focuses on development of fundamental and enabling technologies that will facilitate the electric power industry to actively manage and control large amount of plug-in vehicle charging. More info is at: http://www.atec.ncsu.edu/