Education in Electric Vehicle Systems: A Multi-Disciplinary Approach

Written by Chun Sing Lai, Mohamed Darwish, and Maysam F. Abbod

Electric vehicles (EVs) are key technologies in the research and development to decarbonize road transportation. It is a general perception that vehicles are related to automotive technology and vehicular dynamics, which are still relevant today. However, EVs are greatly different as compared to internal combustion engine vehicles. EVs use an electrical motor for propulsion and a battery as an energy source.

The article reports the teaching and learning in a recent Electric Vehicle Systems course designed to equip advanced students with knowledge of low-carbon electric vehicle systems and advanced battery technologies. Different from a traditional automotive course, this one focuses on the key areas of electronic and electrical engineering related to electric vehicle systems. These include power electronics and drives, vehicular communication systems, sustainable smart energy systems, intelligent systems, and embedded systems which contribute to the design of electric vehicle charging infrastructure and converter topologies.

Advanced technologies used in this teaching system empower educators while enabling students to learn and digest knowledge and skills more efficiently, effectively, conveniently, and flexibly. Smart teaching encourages more interaction between students and teachers. There are at least five elements within a well-written smart teaching objective, namely Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound.

Students can incorporate successful study skills that, when practiced over time, become good habits. Students learn to be more productive, gain confidence and independence, and contribute to a setting where all experience a safe, healthy, sharing environment that encourages respect and high expectations, maximizes potential, and stimulates interest and enthusiasm. Smart learning provides a higher level of engagement among students than traditional forms of learning. It involves digital content including multimedia files, presentations, and animations to explain complex concepts in engineering and science in a simplified manner by breaking them down into smaller, more manageable parts.

Students will have access to modern technical facilities including computer, electronics, and power and control laboratories, where they work on practical laboratory-based exercises. The latest industry-standard engineering software packages are available for you to use in purpose-built computer laboratories.

To meet the net-zero emission target and fulfil the national agenda, there will be an industry demand for engineers specialized in electric vehicle systems. The interest in EV education is expanding globally. There are multidisciplinary collaborations from different engineering departments with the aim of building new graduates with the knowledge and research skills in the fields of enhanced energy management including advanced modeling, monitoring, and control of electric vehicle subsystems: energy storage with consideration of comprehensive lifecycle deployment of electric vehicle batteries; advanced power modules, such as advanced integrated power modules for ultra-compact chargers; next-generation powertrain with innovative system topologies to increase the efficiency of electric vehicle powertrains; ubiquitous charging, for example, fast, on-board, and wireless charging solutions to reduce range anxiety; and electric vehicle opportunities to expand the utility of electric vehicles and batteries.

Figure 1 shows four engineering students participating in electric vehicle range modeling from the EV course at Brunel University London, as part of the UK-Saudi Electric Vehicles Education and Research Network.


Figure 1 Students participating in electric vehicle range modeling with

 Figure 1: Students participating in electric vehicle range modeling with supervision from academic members.



Future Reading

  1. Electric Vehicle Systems MSc:
  2. UK-Saudi R&D for emerging electric vehicles technologies:
  3. Darwish, M., Rady, M., Abbod, M., Almatrafi, E. and Lai, C.S., 2022, August. Forecourt Electric Vehicles Charging Hubs–UK and Saudi Research and Education Collaboration. In 2022 57th International Universities Power Engineering Conference (UPEC) (pp. 1-5). IEEE.



This article was edited by Sandeep Shekhawat.

To view all articles in this issue, please go to May 2023 eNewsletter. For a downloadable copy, please visit the IEEE Smart Cities Resource Center.

Chun Sing Lai Pic
Chun Sing Lai (Senior Member, IEEE) received a B.Eng. (first-class Hons.) in electrical and electronic engineering from Brunel University London, London, U.K., in 2013, and a D.Phil. degree in engineering science from the University of Oxford, Oxford, U.K., in 2019. He is currently a Lecturer at the Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering, Brunel University London. His current research interests include power system optimization and electric vehicle systems. Dr. Lai was the Publications Co-Chair for the 2020 and 2021 IEEE International Smart Cities Conferences. He is the Vice-Chair of the IEEE Smart Cities Publications Committee and an Associate Editor for the IET Energy Conversion and Economics. He is the Working Group Chair for IEEE P2814 and P3166 Standards, an Associate Vice President, Systems Science and Engineering of the IEEE Systems, Man, and Cybernetics Society (IEEE/SMCS), and the Chair of the IEEE SMC Intelligent Power and Energy Systems Technical Committee. He was the recipient of the 2022 Meritorious Service Award from the IEEE SMC Society for meritorious and significant service to IEEE SMC Society technical activities and standards development. He is an IET Member, Chartered Engineer, and Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Mohamed Darwish
Mohamed Darwish is a Chartered Engineer and a Reader in Power Electronics and Systems. He has over 35 years of experience in research and teaching in the area of Power Electronics and Power Systems. His research interests include active power filters, uninterruptible power supply (UPS) systems, power quality, and renewable energy systems. Dr. Darwish has supervised more than 30 Ph.D. research students and over 90 MSc. students. He has published over 120 journal and conference papers within the area of Power Electronics and Renewable Energy Systems. Dr. Darwish was the Principle Investigator for an EPSRC grant (Programmable Tuned Filters for Retrofit Applications) and for a TCS grant (Power Quality Solutions).

Maysam F Abbod
Maysam F. Abbod (Senior Member, IEEE) received his Ph.D. degree in control engineering from The University of Sheffield, Sheffield, U.K., in 1992. He is currently a Reader of electronic systems with the Department of Electronic and Computer Engineering, Brunel University London, Uxbridge, U.K. He has authored over 50 articles in journals, nine chapters in edited books, and over 50 papers in refereed conferences. His current research interests include intelligent systems for modeling and optimization. Dr. Abbod is a member of the IET, U.K., and a Chartered Engineer in the U.K. He is serving as an Associate Editor for the Engineering Applications of Artificial Intelligence (Elsevier).

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