Q&A about being an EVT member

During the school year, EVT meets every Saturday @ 11:00AM in N52-318

What is EVT?

The MIT Electric Vehicle Team (EVT) is a multidisciplinary group of undergraduate and graduate students that designs, builds, and tests electric vehicles (EVs) for fun.

What does EVT do?

The team recently converted a 1976 Porsche 914 into an advanced battery electric vehicle (BEV) using 18 Lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries provided by Valence Technology Inc. After getting the vehicle working last spring, it was taken down over the summer for design changes and safety improvements. The teamís current focus is on getting the vehicle back into working order, testing it to validate performance and efficiency estimates, and planning the next vehicle: what motor, batteries, and charging system to use.

Other on-going activities include outreach and education both within MIT and for the larger community, attracting and communicating with sponsors, and doing interviews for media coverage of the vehicle.

Who are the members of EVT?

EVT members come from all departments and levels. The team is generally a mix of undergraduate and graduate students. While some EVT members have received independent study, UROP, and/or BS thesis credit for their involvement on the team, for most team members EVT is purely extracurricular.

What does an EV conversion involve?

A EV conversion involves removing the engine, fuel tank, and associated parts from a vehicle and installing a motor, batteries, motor controller, battery management system, and other smaller electronic components. Specific tasks include:

  • working with, removing, or upgrading stock vehicle systems
  • installing and mounting batteries, a motor and motor controller, etc
  • designing and installing the low-voltage/control wiring for the vehicle
  • designing and installing the high-voltage (>144 V) system for the vehicle
  • working with parts suppliers to order, install, configure, and control electronic components
  • testing and debugging various vehicle components and systems
  • designing and implementing a data acquisition system
  • testing (aka driving) and collecting data for analysis

What if I don't know anything about electricity or cars?

Perfect! Youíll learn a lot!

What if I'm already the world's greatest EV expert?

Perfect! We could use your expertise and technical leadership, and youíll be able to contribute back to the community and make a real difference in EV knowledge and experience at MIT.

What is the typical time commitment of EVT members?

It really varies from person-to-person and week-to-week. The team has an organizational meeting once a week to discuss team business, organize the to-do list, and plan work times for the week ahead. (The minutes from this meeting are emailed out over the team listserv, so even if you canít make the meeting youíll still know when during the week weíre meeting.) Work times occur throughout the week and generally last several hours, depending on the project and on when and for how long people can work. Obviously, the more you put into the team, the more it will give back to you, but if all you do is come to the organizational meetings or show-up in the lab every once in a while, that is absolutely a-okay.

What if I don't have time for a side project?

Not a problem. Do you have a class with a term project? Could you use a UROP or independent study credit? Do you need a BS thesis topic? We would love to help you design a project that fits into your class curriculum, is of interest to you, and is related to EVs. The potential is almost limitless. If you have project ideas or are interested in this option, contact the EVT officers at†evt-exec[@]mit.edu

Why should I join EVT?

1. EVs are hot! With high gas and energy prices and rising concerns over climate change, electric vehicles are the future of automotive transportation (or at least most experts seem to think so). Automakers (both large and small) are already shifting in that direction with hybrid-electric vehicles and both neighborhood and performance EVs (such as the Tesla Roadster) available on the market today. By joining EVT you can contribute to this rapidly growing field and learn a lot about some cutting- and leading-edge technologies.

2. Get real, hands-on experience! As a member of EVT you will work on a real vehicle; research, design, and implement real electrical propulsion and energy storage systems; work in a real lab (EVT is based out of the Sloan Automotive Laboratory) with real equipment and components; attract real sponsors; lead and plan real outreach and education events; and much more!