Monroe, Wisconsin, is a small city with a big reputation for its cheese. Now, a partnership between manufacturer Orchid Monroe and UW-Madison engineers may expand the city’s expertise to include clean vehicle technology. Orchid Monroe is providing support for researchers from the Wisconsin Electric Machines & Power Electronics Consortium (WEMPEC) to develop a particularly rugged experimental electric vehicle: a Ford F-150 pickup truck.
Once graduate students, led by electrical and computer engineering graduate student Phil Kollmeyer (right), and Orchid Monroe engineers convert the truck to an electric vehicle, it will become an up-to-date testbed for a wide range of battery and powertrain performance experiments. Orchid Monroe is providing the truck and equipment, as well as setting aside facility space for students to use.
Orchid Monroe manufactures laminated electrical-grade steel components and assemblies for the automotive, electric motor, generator, lighting, transformer and wind power industries. In the past two years, the company has expanded into developing and manufacturing an electric traction drive system for buses and other large vehicle applications.
“Partnering with Orchid Monroe provides a wonderful win-win situation,” says Thomas Jahns, WEMPEC co-director and the Grainger Professor of Power Electronics and Electrical Machines in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. “There are opportunities for them to benefit in the near-term with their business plans, while creating a test bed for us to pursue research into techniques for solving our nation’s long-term energy supply problems.”