Ohio State’s Center for Automotive Research has been awarded a $1.5 million grant intended to help fund research on low- and no-emission public transit research. Moving forward, students will have an opportunity to work with the research.
The one-year research program, funded by the Federal Transit Authority, will go toward redesigning specific components of transit buses, such as electrical battery packs and hybrid systems, in an effort to reduce the amount of carbon released from vehicles.
“Obviously a transit bus is a massive capital investment for a city,” said Walter Dudek, engineering services manager at CAR. “The hope is rather than redesigning whole buses, they can make incremental improvements.”
Partnering with CAR is the Transportation Research Center, a university-affiliated vehicle testing facility that operates in nearby East Liberty, Ohio.
Amanda Rockhold, marketing manager for TRC, said that OSU works with the nonprofit research facility not only to attract vehicle manufacturing companies but also for research and development purposes.
“Our revenue as a nonprofit goes into an endowment fund,” Rockhold said. “That’s actually what funded the Center for Automotive Research, originally.”
Only two universities, OSU and Auburn University, were awarded the grant.
Students won’t be involved in the project until later in its development, but they might work on testing different bus components and learning those procedures, Dudek said.
One of those tests uses the chastity dynamometer, a large piece of equipment that allows the operator to test the power delivery to a vehicle’s wheels through the drivetrain, without the vehicle actually moving.
Research is still in the development phase with a heavy focus on “non-project related project work” such as database and website creation, Dudek said.
“Once we actually get into the testing of the programs, that’s when we’ll bring in the students,” he said. “Right now, it’s all just possibilities.”