Chris Borroni-Bird and Rich Saad Afreecar LLC Rochester Hills, MI

Winner of an HP Workstation

A briefcase-sized e-kit comprising a lithium-ion battery module, motor, and electronics is designed to be easily attached to a wide variety of non-motorized vehicle types (vehicles that are pushed, pulled, or pedaled). It can be applied to vehicles in several applications such as agriculture, healthcare, urban mobility, warehouses, and campuses.

The kit can be attached vertically or horizontally.

The kit can be attached vertically or horizontally and provides electric power assist, which reduces effort and risk of injuries. The kit also provides a source of electric power so electrical devices can be powered (e.g., cellphones, water pumps, ventilators, dialysis machines, etc.) and has mechanical power takeoff.

As automakers develop autonomous vehicles and cities consider car-free zones, a similar solution (small, shared, short-range EVs that do not have to meet crash safety standards) may also proliferate in the developed world. Cities around the world could design and build their own vehicles and then use them to provide door-to-door sustainable mobility for their people.

By eliminating the need to purchase all-new electric vehicles, the e-kit promises to be a low-cost solution in the developing world (with the addition of solar panels for off-grid rural applications). This type of vehicle could “steer” rural mobility in poor regions along a path very different from what happens today. Instead of importing relatively few and expensive 1500-kg cars that were designed for affluent societies, the world’s poorest communities can develop their own affordable, lightweight, renewable vehicles that are safe for all road users because they operate in isolation from cars.

Moreover, the e-kit also has applications in the developed world because it can be shared among several different types of vehicles — a fleet operator, for example, would not need to retrofit all of their vehicles or buy new vehicles.

For more information, visit here .

Read a Web-Exclusive Tech Briefs interview with the inventor.


Hairpin Motor Using Aluminum Hairpins

Michael Durack, Ultimate Transmissions, Saraburi, Thailand
The Variable Conductor Area Technology hairpins are shown here, with enlarged ends.

Variable Conductor Area Technology allows copper to be replaced by aluminum in EV motors without any loss of efficiency, saving considerable cost. V-Cat is a form of hairpin motor winding in which the end-windings and slot conductors are formed in aluminum using conventional die casting.

For more information, visit here .

HCCI Fickett-Jacobs Cycle Double Acting Internal PDE

Sky Huddleston and Roger Richard, Liberator LLC/ Eternal Engines, Bourbon, MO
The Fickett-Jacobs cycle internal detonation engine

A double-acting Fickett-Jacobs cycle internal detonation engine has only two moving parts and can use unrefined biomass-derived fuels. The 49-cc design can produce over 60 horsepower. Lifespan is projected to exceed 100,000 hours.

For more information, visit here .

3D Printing Boosts SiC Inverter Performance

Peter Wilson, Oliver Holt, and Richard Gotch, University of Bath, United Kingdom
Additive manufacturing improves inverter performance.

The application of additive manufacturing has allowed improvement of the achievable performance of SiC and other wide bandgap semiconductor devices, enabling an increase in inverter performance that will improve the efficiency, packaging, and energy density of electric vehicle powertrains across all transport sectors.

For more information, visit here .

SERS: Suspension Energy Recovery System

Aditya Deshpande, Saroja Siddamal, Amankumar Saha, and Vivek Kumar, KLE Technological University, Karnataka, India
A complete SERS assembly

SERS is a suspension energy recovery system that employs a patented reciprocation technique to increase the input frequency to a linear generator, improving vehicles’ energy harvesting efficiency and producing electrical energy.

For more information, visit here .

See the rest of this year's winners: