The master’s in electric-drive vehicle engineering program consists of 32 credit hours. There are thesis and non-thesis tracks. Some workers, however, may not have the time or energy to pursue a complete master’s degree. For them, Wayne States offers a graduate certificate program. The certificate requires 12 credit hours, which is equivalent to three courses. “Essentially, they can work and take courses at night so that after a year or so they can receive a graduate certificate,” he explained. The bachelor’s program has 64 credit hours for the third and fourth years.
The electric vehicle-engineering program was launched at the beginning of 2010. It formed an advisory board and launched a Web site in April 2010. All of the degree programs have now been approved by the university, so that the program can begin courses in the fall of 2010, Dr. Ng said.
The E3 workshop conducted by Wayne State drew about 120 attendees, with representatives from 12 universities and community colleges and some 30 companies, Dr. Ng noted. The workshop had three tracks—batteries, vehicle integration, and infrastructure. One clear message from industry for the battery curriculum was that it is necessary to have a fundamental course on electrochemistry. “The way they look at it, you really have to have a system engineering approach, but get down to the molecular level,” Dr. Ng said. “Then there is the cell level, the pack level, then the system level.” Battery recycling and manufacturing were other major needs cited by industry representatives.
A number of new laboratories are being developed for the electric-vehicle program. The energy-storage laboratory is separated into three levels, Dr. Ng explained. Cell fabrication is more at the molecular level. Students learn how to make new materials, as well as how to make cathodes and anodes and how to put a cell together. The next level is to learn to characterize cells and learn different techniques to study subjects like thermal management. Students also study characterization of battery packs and modules in order to prepare them for potentially working for Ford, General Motors, and Chrysler, having considerable experience in testing battery packs.
A second laboratory is dedicated to electric propulsion, where various vehicle drive cycles can be studied. Braking, acceleration, and electronic controls can be simulated for different kinds of hardware and systems. The lab will enable students to engage in hands-on learning and to understand different issues of integrating the vehicles. A third lab allows for experimentation with electronic controls and studying interactions between batteries and electric motors.
The fall 2010 curriculum includes courses on the fundamentals of electric-drive vehicles and battery and battery systems. In infrastructure, there are courses on power electronics and vehicle-charging infrastructure. There are modeling courses for electric vehicles and power trains, as well as courses on design, production, and infrastructure development. A course on energy economics and policy will provide students with a comprehensive understanding of the impact of energy and policy on the development of electric vehicles. An