Development of a Scaled, Radio-controlled Parallel Hybrid Vehicle Kit for Use in Outreach and Education

Open Access
Hamilton, Madeline Rose
Area of Honors:
Mechanical Engineering
Bachelor of Science
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Hosam Kadry Fathy, Thesis Supervisor
  • Hosam Kadry Fathy, Honors Advisor
  • Sean Brennan, Faculty Reader
  • toy kit
  • educational toy
  • hybrid
  • hybrid electric vehicle
  • parallel hybrid
  • HEV
  • HEV toy kit
  • parameter identification
  • rc car
The thesis presents the various efforts made to create a scaled, radio-controlled, parallel hybrid electric vehicle to be used in outreach and education. The thesis is motivated by the economic and emission benefits of vehicle electrification. The overarching goal of this thesis is to create an interactive educational toy kit that introduces vehicle electrification and hybridization to K-12 students. Other students at the Pennsylvania State University have attempted to create this toy kit and explored: (i) different mechanical assemblies of the vehicle and (ii) the creation of vehicle motor controllers from basic electronic components. This thesis explores alternative methods to control the vehicles propulsion and assemble the hybrid electric vehicle. This is important because, to the best of the author’s knowledge, no fully functioning hybrid vehicle toy kit has been presented in the literature or introduced to the market to date. The thesis effort was completed in six different steps, which had varying degrees of success, namely: (i) identification of a road load model that can be used in online control of the vehicle; (ii) using sensor control to propel a brushless DC motor; (iii) using sensor-less control to propel a brushless DC motor; (iv) running and controlling the vehicle’s internal combustion engine via an Arduino board; (v) assembling and running a parallel hybrid vehicle; and (vi) using radio-control to drive the vehicle. All efforts provided valuable information for future development of the educational toy kit. With the lessons outlined in this thesis, a working model can be achieved with improved mechanical components and tighter tolerances and fits.