A study of the systems engineering approach using an existing electric vehicle as the subject


Many renewable energy developers have created deployable systems capable of supplying electric power to troops in the field. Most of these systems are large 10KW+ or small personnel sized systems of only a few watts. There are few systems that are both highly portable and that supply power in the 2-5kW range. As undergraduate First Class Cadets at the United States Air Force Academy, our team has been tasked to develop and design a portable, renewable power generation, storage, and distributive system to support sustained operations in austere environments. We began with an electrical all-terrain vehicle originally built by American Electrical Vehicles (AEV). The Electric Covert All-Terrain Transport (ECATT), though non-operational, was originally designed as a prototype for Air Force Special Operations but never fielded. Our team used a systems engineering approach to design a highly portable, 2-5 kW solar electric, all-terrain vehicle (SATV). The chosen wattage allowed for maximum provision of power, while still keeping relatively mobile. The SATV will be capable of supplying up to 36 kW-h of single and/or 3-phase power. Many senior design teams design projects begin from the ground up but our team's project is unique in that we were able to start with non-functioning but commercially designed system. First, to integrate our designs into the existing system, we invested a great deal of effort to reverse engineer the existing system. Once we had a solid understanding of how and what the functionalities of the existing vehicle was capable, we created four conceptual designs that would meet or surpass the requirements set by our customer. Our team is comprised of mechanical, electrical, systems, and computer engineering undergraduates, offering a myriad of different ideas to the best solution. This paper is a study of the design, solution selection, and implementation process we used as seen from a non-technical systems engineering major. Our intent is to explain our formal approach, methodology and how we translated our ideas using the system engineering principles. The challenges throughout the project are further discussed. Lastly, this is a working paper, as the project is inconclusive and will be further continued by other classes of Cadets.

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@article{Ferris2012ASO, title={A study of the systems engineering approach using an existing electric vehicle as the subject}, author={A. J. Ferris and R. A. Newberry and M. Span and Michal Weingart and Kira Storgaard Hansen and Andrew Mundy and L. C. A. J. Laffely}, journal={2012 IEEE Systems and Information Engineering Design Symposium}, year={2012}, pages={46-49} }