Subsystem Lead: Kaleb Todd
The Battery Team designs and tests charging electronics, the battery pack, power delivery electronics, and different cell configurations in order to maximize expected performance and durability of TexSun's power reserve. Other contributing factors include the make and model of batteries we use. The power electronics we research help maintain several different bus voltages and promise a continuous source for the remainder of the car’s devices. The batteries used in TexSun are lithium iron phosphate batteries that have a capacity of 2.5 Ah and a nominal voltage of 3.3 V. The battery pack for TexSun was designed with 36 modules in series with each module containing 14 battery cells.
Battery Management Systems (BMS)
Subsystem Lead: Sijin Woo
The BMS maintains a balanced state of charge for the battery pack. The battery pack is divided into modules and each module’s state of charge drifts over time. This unbalance prevents the battery pack from operating at its peak efficiency and shortens the life span of the battery pack. The main function of this system is to prevent that from happening. The BMS is heavily based in embedded systems with emphasis on hardware and software.
Battery Protection Systems (BPS)
Subsystem Lead: Richard Li
Although lithium-ion phosphate cells have a comparatively greater energy density ratio than other battery chemical make ups, they can be quite fickle and often times dangerous to deal with. To ensure TexSun's batteries are always operating within a safe environment and in accordance with American Solar Challenge (ASC) and Formula Sun Grand Prix (FSGP) regulations, we have a BPS that monitors our high-power system to ensure that they are operating within safe thresholds and in the event of a fault isolates the batteries to prevent damaging any of the other systems or harming the driver. The BPS system also works together with the BMS system to monitor the battery and charge the cells, making sure that they are operating at their optimal state. Our system deals heavily in embedded systems, software implementation, scripting, PCB designs and manufacturing, integrated circuits, communication systems, and circuit theory. We are currently in the process of manufacturing boards of our pre-existing system and starting on designing a new BPS for the next generation of solar cars.
Subsystem Lead: Felipe Quijano-Ortiz
The hot summer days here in central Texas present challenging thermal conditions for any solar vehicle. To achieve better efficiency and higher performance, our new solar car BeVolt features a robust battery ventilation system that can keep the vehicle operating safely and effectively under load. A solution that integrates heat transfer, fluid dynamics, and structural analysis exposes our multifaceted team to many aspects of mechanical engineering.