Since the early 1900’s demand for fuel efficient vehicles has motivated the development of electric and hybrid electric vehicles. Unfortunately, some components used in these vehicles are expensive and complex. Todays consumer electric vehicles use dangerously high voltage, expensive electronic controllers, complex battery management systems and AC motors. The goal of this research at BYU is to increase safety by lowering the operating voltage and decrease cost by eliminating expensive controllers and decrease the number of battery cells.

This paper specifically examines the use of a Ward Leonard Motor Control system for use in a passenger vehicle. The Ward Leonard System provides an alternative control method to expensive and complex systems used today.

A Control Factor metric was developed as a result of this research to measure the Ward Leonard System’s ability to reduce the size and cost of the electronic controller for application in an EV or HEV. A bench top model of the Ward Leonard system was tested validating the Control Factor metric. The Ward Leonard system is capable of reducing the controller size by 77% and potentially reducing its cost by this amount or more. This work also provides performance characteristics for automotive designers and offers several design alternatives for EV and HEV architectures allowing a reduction in voltage, the use of AC inverters, AC motors, expensive controllers and high cell count battery packs.

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