The goal of Cornell’s CU100+MPG Team was to design, build, and test a series hybrid vehicle
capable of achieving at least 100 miles per gallon equivalency while meeting Federal Motor Vehicle
Safety Standards (FMVSS) and Progressive Insurance Automotive X-Prize (PIAXP) competition
requirements. This was an extremely difficult undertaking as our car would have to not only be
functional, but durable enough to drive at high speeds through a rough simulated road course, drive a
combined distance of hundreds of miles without needing servicing, provide vehicle safety and
crashworthiness equal to production cars, while providing passenger comfort and amenities. We also
had to design our car to be marketable to today’s consumers.
Our electrical systems were monitored and controlled by custom software running on a National
Instruments cRIO microcontroller which handled nearly all vehicle functionality. I wrote software for
this device that monitors pedal position, commands torque from the drive motor, starts and stops the
genset, and monitors battery health and limiting driving when an error occurred.
Most of our vehicle was custom build which meant I had to build two vehicle fuse/relay boxes, run
conduit through the car with over 100 distinct wires, design and build a custom instrument cluster, and
write custom control systems for the powertrain, batteries, charger and user interface controls.
Our vehicle has driven over two hundred miles as well as passed all PIAXP technical and safety
inspections. We made it through the first round of competition and had some difficulty during the
second round with our batteries and had to withdraw from competition. An analysis of a likely cause
of this failure is given at the end of this report.
This report discusses the design and implementation of the major hardware and software components I
designed and built. It is meant to both describe the design process I went through when designing
these systems and as a service manual for the car which will hopefully continue to be improved.
Full report (pdf)