Presented by Philip Krein, Director of the Grainger Center for Electric Machinery and Electromechanics, UI Dept. of Electrical and Computer Engineering
December 2, 2009
Hybrid and electric automobiles have a long history, but are practical today because of advances in power electronics and control technologies. Hybrid designs were originally seen as a temporary approach leading toward fully electric cars, but now have demonstrated special merits. These types of cars greatly enhance fuel efficiency while reducing environmental impact. In this talk, fundamental characteristics of electric transportation are examined. What are the energy storage needs, the power needs, the control requirements, and the reliability concerns? The major types of present and near-term hybrid cars will be introduced, with emphasis on tradeoffs for low emissions, high fuel economy, control flexibility, and practicality. Hybrid cars today can be designed to cut major pollutants by 90% and give fuel economy double or more compared to conventional cars. Next-generation hybrids will blur distinctions with electric cars. They will recharge largely from the electricity grid, with a degree of flexibility that will alter electric utilities in fundamental ways. Electric cars continue to improve, and may be an important factor in automotive markets over the next decade.