• Research


    Energy use in vehicles; fundamentals of energy management and control strategies; vehicle systems design using model based design and software/hardware in the loop methods
    Design of hybrid and electric vehicle powertrains to meet performance and fuel economy goals; construction, testing and validation of vehicle powertrain systems; battery energy storage systems; autonomous vehicle energy storage and propulsion
    Advanced Vehicle Technology Competitions

    Plug-in, Hybrid and Electric Propulsion Systems for Light Duty Vehicles

    Integrate vehicle propulsion and electric energy storage subsystems to demonstrate improved fuel economy and range, idle reduction modes. Evaluate well-to-wheels impact of alternative and bio-based fuels. Define the state-of-the-art, test methods, and technical risks. Design and optimization of hybrid power systems architecture to meet requirements using dynamic models of system components. Drive cycle, gradeability and performance simulation for component sizing and trade-offs. Testing of vehicles, components and systems, thermal limitations, and control strategies.

    Advanced Vehicle Technology Competitions

    Dr. Nelson has advised and mentored HEVT teams through 19 Advanced Vehicle Technology Competitions, achieving First Place overall in 1996, 1998, 2006 and 2011, and placing in the top 3 five more times in 1997, 1999, 2000, 2007 and 2010. Students not only design, but also build and test full size vehicles using a detailed vehicle design process to meet vehicle technical specifications while receiving course credit and developing research thesis topics. The students from these teams have gone on to work in the mobility industry, and directly contributed to development of hybrid electric vehicles, including the Ford Escape HEV, the Chevrolet Volt, plus many more. Dr. Nelson also serves as Faculty Chair for the AVTC Faculty Advisor Board where he has contributed to the safety rules and the development of on-road energy use and emissions test methods to emulate laboratory SAE J1711 standard methods for plug-in hybrid vehicles.

    Note: I cannot discuss research assistant positions with potential graduate students unless you have applied to and been accepted into our graduate program.

  • Publications

    – David Ord, Eli White, Peter Manning, Abhijit Khare, Lucas Shoults, Douglas Nelson (2014), “Powertrain Design to Meet Performance and Energy Consumption Goals for EcoCAR 3”, SAE paper 2014-01-1915, SAE 2014 International World Congress, April 8-10, Detroit, MI.

    – Abhijit Khare, Henning Lohse-Busch, Douglas Nelson (2014), “Impact of Ambient Temperature and Climate Control on Energy Consumption and Operational Behavior for various HEVs on the Urban Drive Cycle.”, SAE paper 2014-01-1814, SAE 2014 International World Congress, April 8-10, Detroit, MI.

    – Robert Jesse Alley, Patrick Walsh, Nicole Lambiase, Brian Benoy, Douglas Nelson, Shawn Midlam-Mohler, Jerry Ku (2014), “ESS Design Process Overview and Key Outcomes of Year 2 of EcoCAR 2: Plugging In to the Future”, SAE paper 2014-01-1922, SAE 2014 International World Congress, April 8-10, Detroit, MI.

    – P. Christopher Manning, Eli White, Douglas J. Nelson (2013), “Development of a Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle Control Strategy Employing Software-In-the-Loop Techniques”, SAE paper 2013-01-0160, SAE 2013 International World Congress, April 16-18, Detroit, MI, 14 pgs.

    – Robert Jesse Alley; Douglas J. Nelson, Eli White, P. Christopher Manning (2013), “VTool: A Method for Predicting and Understanding the Energy Flow and Losses in Advanced Vehicle Powertrains”, SAE paper 2013-01-0543, SAE 2013 International World Congress, April 16-18, Detroit, MI, 18 pgs.

    – Nicole Lambiase, Brian Benoy, Kristen De La Rosa, Vahid Motevalli, G. Marshal Molen, Douglas J. Nelson, Patrick Walsh, Robert J. Alley (2013), “Key Outcomes of Year One of EcoCAR 2: Plugging In To The Future”, SAE paper 2013-01-0554, SAE 2013 International World Congress, April 16-18, Detroit, MI, 20 pgs.

    – Jonathan King and Douglas J. Nelson (2013), “Model-Based Design of a Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle Control Strategy”, SAE Paper 2013-01-1753, SAE 2013 International World Congress, April 16-18, Detroit, MI, 12 pgs.

    – P. Christopher Manning, Eli White, R. Jesse Alley, Jonathan King, Douglas J. Nelson (2012), “Vehicle System Design Process for a Series-Parallel Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle”, SAE International Journal of Alternative Powertrains, 1(2):503-524, Dec. 2012, doi:10.4271/2012-01-1774.

    – Mark Meyer, Henning Lohse-Busch, and Douglas J. Nelson, (2012), “Battery Charge Balance and Correction Issues in Hybrid Electric Vehicles for Individual Phases of Certification Dynamometer Driving Cycles as used in EPA Fuel Economy Label Calculations”, SAE International Journal of Alternative Powertrains, July 2012 1:219-230; doi:10.4271/2012.01.1006.

    – Patrick Walsh and Douglas J. Nelson, (2012), “Impact of Supervisory Control on Criteria Tailpipe Emissions for an Extended-Range Electric Vehicle”, SAE Paper 2012-01-1193, SAE 2012 International World Congress, April 24-26, Detroit, MI, 17 pgs.

    – Robert Jesse Alley, Jonathan King, Lynn Gantt, Patrick Walsh, and Douglas J. Nelson, (2012), “Refinement and Testing of a Split Parallel Extended Range Electric Vehicle”, SAE Paper 2012-01-1196, SAE 2012 International World Congress, April 24-26, Detroit, MI, 26 pgs.

    – Michael G. Diaz and Douglas J. Nelson, (2011), “Stability Analysis of Automotive Supervisory Control: A Survey”, SAE Paper 2011-01-0974, SAE 2011 International World Congress, April 12-14, Detroit, MI, 6 pgs.

    – Lynn R. Gantt, Patrick M. Walsh, Robert Alley, Jeffrey Bennett, Jonathan King, Douglas J. Nelson, (2011), “Validation of an E85 Range Extended Electric Vehicle”, SAE Paper 2011-01-0912, SAE 2011 International World Congress, April 12-14, Detroit, MI.

    – Kim, K., von Spakovsky, M. R., Wang, M., Nelson, D., 2010, “A Hybrid Multi-level Optimization Approach for the Dynamic Synthesis/Design and Operation/Control under Uncertainty of a Fuel Cell System,” Energy: The International Journal, doi:10.1016/j.energy.2010.08.024.

    – Jih-Sheng (Jason) Lai, and Douglas J. Nelson (2007), “Energy Management Power Converters in Hybrid Electric and Fuel Cell Vehicles”, IEEE Proceedings – Special Issue on Electric, Hybrid & Fuel Cell Vehicles, Vol 95, No.4, April 2007, pp. 766-777 (invited review paper).

  • Professional History


    1986–present, Virginia Tech, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Assistant/Associate/Professor
  • Awards and Honors


    2013-2014 – Department of Energy Applied Automotive Engineering Fellowship
    2013 – Outstanding Long-Term Faculty Advisor Award, National Science Foundation, EcoCAR 2
    2011 – Elected Fellow, Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) International
    2009 – Outstanding Long-Term Faculty Advisor Award, National Science Foundation, EcoCAR
    2005 – Outstanding Long-term Faculty Advisor Award, National Science Foundation, Challenge X
    1998 – FutureCar Faculty Advisor’s Award, National Science Foundation
    1997 – Dean’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, Virginia Tech College of Engineering
    1996 – Ralph R. Teetor Educational Award, SAE International

Education

Ph.D., Mechanical Engineering, Arizona State University, 1986
M.S., Mechanical Engineering, Virginia Tech, 1979
B.S., Mechanical Engineering, Virginia Tech, 1978

(540) 231-4324
413B Goodwin Hall – 0238
635 Prices Fork Road
Blacksburg, VA 24061
doug.nelson@vt.edu

Douglas Nelson

Professor