Canada Excellence Research Chair (CERC) in Hybrid Powertrain Program: Electric, Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle Research

Alex Lebel

Research Engineer

Short Biography

Alexander Lebel received B.Eng (2014) and M.A.Sc. (2017) degrees from McMaster University, with a focus on mechatronics engineering, software engineering, and management.

As a student, Alexander joined the McMaster Institute for Automotive Research and Technology (MacAUTO), where he functioned as a subteam lead for the McMaster Formula Hybrid Team and the McMaster Engineering EcoCAR 3 Team. His responsibilities included the design and implementation of vehicle electrical and controls systems as well as the modelling and simulation of hybrid electric powertrains. Currently, Alexander serves as an Electrified Powertrain Research Engineer within the Canada Excellence Research Chair in Hybrid Powertrain Program.

 

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From a young age, Alexander Lebel had a fascination with technology. Engineering is in his blood. His mother, an engineer and graduate from McMaster University, fostered Alexander’s curiosity with technology and encouraged him to build and innovate. His grandfather, also an engineer, was head of engineering at Stelco in Hamilton, Ontario. The apple did not fall far from the family tree.

This early influence led Alexander to pursue the maths and sciences, which eventually evolved into his studies at McMaster University in 2009. Alexander completed his undergraduate degree in 2014, graduating summa cum laude with a Bachelor Degree in Mechatronics Engineering and Management. Alexander then decided to pursue a new passion, in the form of supervisory control strategies for hybrid electric vehicles, by continuing his education at McMaster University. He graduated with a Masters of Applied Science in Software Engineering in 2017.

Throughout his studies, Alexander excelled at courses involving controls systems, FPGA logic design, and embedded systems programming, as well as the commerce courses provided by the DeGroote School of Business as part of the Engineering and Management program. Alexander joined the McMaster Formula Hybrid Team in the fall of 2013 and it forever changed his perspective of engineering and teamwork. He served as the team’s controls subteam lead for the next two years and spearheaded vehicle software development, and in addition, contributed to the design and implementation of several custom electronic control units.

Alexander was also a founding member of the McMaster Engineering EcoCAR 3 Team and served as its control subteam lead for the first two years of the four-year competition and as the team’s system modeling and simulation subteam lead during the competition’s second year. The team gained international recognition when, in the first year of the competition, it achieved the best results of any rookie team in the competitions’ 30-year history by placing sixth overall. The McMaster Engineering EcoCAR 3 Team was also recognized by industry giants, such as Mathworks, dSpace, and AVL, for their innovative use of industry standards and software to develop tools such as a driver-in-the-loop simulator.

As a graduate student, Alexander’s research focused on the development of a supervisory controls system for a series-parallel plug-in hybrid electric vehicle. He proposed a solution to the vehicle’s energy management problem in the form of an adaptive equivalent consumption minimization strategy (A-ECMS) and evaluated its effectiveness against more common heuristic approaches as well as non-adaptive instantaneous minimization methods. The strategy employed an artificial neural network to identify specific driving patterns in real-time, and thereby, addressed many of the concerns with the stability and sensitivity of algorithms that attempt to solve the energy management problem without prior knowledge of the driving cycle.

When not pursuing his passion in the fields of automotive and software engineering, Alexander finds himself drawn to the outdoors where he enjoys hiking, camping, canoeing, and sailing.