Written By: Jacob Levin, HEVT Communications Manager
EcoCAR Mobility Challenge sponsors provide the hardware, software, training, and support the teams need to integrate technologies into their competition vehicles. Leadership-level sponsor, American Axle & Manufacturing (AAM), designs, engineers, validates and manufactures driveline and metal forming technologies for automotive, commercial and industrial markets.
AAM’s support has been integral in the integration process for the Virginia Tech Hybrid Electric Vehicle Team (HEVT) by providing suggestions for manufacturing the team’s half shaft. With HEVT’s electric motor choice for their redesigned Chevrolet Blazer, it is necessary that custom rear half shafts be used in order to connect the motor with the vehicle. HEVT has a rear half shaft from General Motors and one that was provided by GKN, the electric motor manufacturer.
AAM suggested using a custom cylindrical shaft and drilling holes on the cylindrical shaft that would correspond to the diameters of the GKN half shaft and the General Motors half shaft. Once the holes were drilled into the custom cylindrical shaft, both the General Motors and GKN half shafts would be placed into the cylindrical shaft then press fitted and welded together. AAM also provided recommendations on what material should be selected for the custom cylindrical shaft. Below is the finite element analysis of the half shaft.
The support and guidance from AAM has been vital for HEVT during the Year 2 integration phase of the EcoCAR Mobility Challenge. By providing HEVT with assistance on both design and manufacturing custom half shafts, they made it possible to easily integrate the electric motor into the Chevrolet Blazer.