LETU to Host Seminar on Future of Electrical Vehicles
Wed, Nov 19 2008
The LeTourneau University Departments of
Chemistry and Engineering will present
The Future of Electromechanical Engineering: Hybrid and Electric Vehicles Bring Hope for a
Changing World on Tuesday, Nov. 25, as part of the fall 2008 science seminar series. The
joint-seminar will begin at 11 a.m. on the third floor of the Memorial Student Center and is free
of charge and open to the public.
The seminar will feature Mark Gunderson, an
LETU alumnus and engineering manager for Continental Automotive Systems of Germany. He will discuss
the requirements, technology and safety challenges facing the future of hybrid and electric
vehicles as alternative vehicle propulsion redefines the use of automotive electronics.
“I’m sure this is the way things will go in the
future,” said LETU electrical engineering professor Bill Graff. “A lot of political and
environmental pressures are pushing us ahead in that direction.”
Several electric vehicles will also be featured
on campus as hands-on examples of green automotive technology. One electric car will even be given
away to a seminar attendee.
Gunderson, engineering manager of battery
controls at Continental’s Hybrid Electric Vehicles unit based in Chicago, researches electronic
controls for lithium-ion battery systems to be used in automotive and commercial applications,
especially in larger systems such as buses and trucks.
According to the Continental Web site,
lithium-ion batteries, the latest generation energy storage units, offer significantly greater
storage capacity than the battery technology currently in use in hybrid vehicles. However, using
lithium-ion technology in vehicles poses particular challenges.
“We must be very concerned with safety aspects
when using so much power and such fast acceleration,” Graff said.
Gunderson, who was featured in the March 2008
issue of Fortune magazine, formerly managed Motorola Automotive Powertrain's Advance Development
Group and has worked with clients including Ford, Honda, General Motors, Toyota, Caterpillar and