AC Propulsion

AC Propulsion Jobs: Availability, Salaries, & More

Have you ever dreamed of inventing something that the world truly needed? Have you ever dreamed of being the next person to write their name indelibly in the history of technology? Well, today, teams of people make those dreams come true. Teams like the leading developer of electric vehicle systems: AC Propulsion.

Such teams enable technologies beyond the likes of the Wright Brothers and the lone inventors who sought to manifest their visions as new physical prototypes. Today, your skills can be channeled into a production that propels humanity into the future: the future of electric vehicle propulsion systems.

Electric vehicles have begun their certain domination of the planet. The busier your city, the more “happening,” the more electric carriages are bound to be roaming the streets. Refusing to burn (or greatly reducing the amount of) hydrocarbons to get to the grocery store has become the ultimate symbol of status. You can practically hear the judgment from the neighbors when an old, gas-burning jalopy bumps down the street. The Green revolution is upon us, and those who cannot see the writing on the wall may find themselves specializing in fields that will not be around tomorrow.

AC Propulsion, on the other hand, is a team that looks forward to the dawning future. Their development and manufacture of leading electric propulsion technologies will only grow as electric vehicles become not only standard but nigh mandatory (if the social pressure is to be believed).

Who Is a Good Fit for AC Propulsion?

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You probably clicked on this article because you, dear reader, have seen the writing on the wall. How much longer will petroleum jobs be around? Is computer engineering really as stable as your college counselor seemed to think now that we’re on the verge of inventing the quantum computer? If you specialize in repairing hydrocarbon burning vehicles, are you dooming yourself to work with outdated technologies?


If any of this is your concern, we urge you to look into the career opportunities afforded by AC Propulsion. However, not only doomsdayers need to be interested; those who find a genuine joy in electric propulsion systems will, of course, feel right at home with AC Propulsion, and we hope this article will do a service for those readers who simply wish to know more about the opportunities available to them from one of the world’s leading electrical propulsion developer-manufacturers.


At the time of this article, several positions are available at AC Propulsion, and we’ll be listing those for those of you who want the work of their minds to bring about the next technological era of humanity.


But first, let’s get to know AC Propulsion to see why you may have an exciting path before you.

A Brief History of AC Propulsion

Alan Cocconi, Wally Rippel, and Paul Carosa started the AC Propulsion company in 1992. Wally Rippel had been a long time developer of electric batteries as well as an advocate for their use. In fact, as an undergrad at Caltech, he helped to develop an electric VW bus that actually won the Great Transcontinental Electric Car Race against their rival school, MIT. That know-how greatly aided him in his subsequent work in the 70’s and 80’s for Jet Propulsion Laboratory where he continued refining his expertise with electric vehicle batteries.  


From their early days in San Dismas, California, AC Propulsion made waves. They created the “tzero” which—if you can believe it—is the sports car, that runs on electricity, and that was invented in 1997. They also rigged up those “eBoxes,” which made quite a splash in its own right. The “eBox” being a clever conversion of the Scion XB converted to run on electricity.

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AC Propulsion on the Market Today


Today, AC Propulsion is the leader in manufacturing AC-induction traction motors. Many vehicles have used their hardware and consulted AC Propulsion’s top-of-the-line knowhow when it comes to the electric vehicle industry. Their reputation has made them the first call when an electric vehicle needs to get built correctly.


AC Propulsion’s electric drivetrain has become the industry standard. You may have seen this bit of handiwork in the ever popular Tesla Roadster, where the drivetrain provided by AC Propulsion is essential. This technology can also be found in their eponymously badged AC Propulsion tzero and AC Propulsion eBox (which we’ve mentioned), which comes as little surprise. More surprising is that this drivetrain also powers the salaciously named Venturi Fetish, the Volvo 3CC, the Wrightspeed X1, as well as the Courreges EXE and the Courreges ZOOOP.


If you’ve ridden any of these vehicles, you have AC Propulsion’s electric drivetrain system to thank.

Job Availability at AC Propulsion

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AC Propulsion is currently hiring! Several positions are listed on their website, and we’ll review the job description, responsibilities, and requirements for each position listed at the time of this article. However, the world moves fast in the internet era, and we encourage you to check out http://www.acpropulsion.com/ to find current listings.


We’ve listed the available positions alongside their job reference number to aid those of you who wish to pursue these opportunities as quickly as possible. The current positions available are as follows:

  • Senior Vehicle Motor Controls Engineer (Ref Job #215)
  • Senior Power Electronics Engineer (Ref Job #216)
  • Motor Controls Engineer  (Ref Job #211)

Let’s explore each of these options in-depth.

Senior Vehicle Motor Controls Engineer

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“We are looking for a Senior Vehicle Motor Controls Engineer with broad experience in electric or hybrid vehicles with strong traction motor controls background for AC Induction and PM type motors.” — AC Propulsion

This is certainly an advanced position but one well suited to those who wish to engage their mind to bring about much-needed technologies.


The work of a Senior Vehicle Motor Controls Engineer is varied, but responsibilities include such tasks as the development of electric vehicle motor controls algorithms. The SVMCE also works with systems engineering to write up the control requirement documentation. They optimize motor controls using MATLAB Simulink or similar systems with hand coding capability. It is their job to ensure that inverter and traction motor meet performance requirements; specifically “via controls algorithm development, implementation and testing” according to their website.


It is additionally the Senior Vehicle Motor Controls Engineer who oversees the dynamometer testing. They are the ones who interpret data for controls development,as well as the ones who validate and improve such data for their reports. Documentation of results and finding recommendations for potential improvements make up a large part of the Senior Vehicle Motor Controls Engineer’s work.


Anyone who wishes to be SVMCE needs to be able to interact well with management, the systems engineers, software engineers, mechanical engineers, as well as the technicians and vendors. Some even interact with customers on a semi-regular basis.

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Senior Vehicle Motor Controls Engineer Qualifications


According to AC Propulsion’s Career page, to become a Senior Vehicle Motor Controls Engineer, you must meet these minimum qualifications:

  • A Computer Engineering degree with ten years of relevant experience
  • OR 5 years of experience in a relevant industry AND
  • A Master of Science in Engineering 
  • OR a Bachelor of Science, Electrical Engineering (BSEE),
  • OR a Master of Engineering 

You must also have an understanding of: 

  • Field oriented control of induction motors 
  • Field oriented control of PM motors
  • PowerPC MCU’s and TI DSP’s

You must also have experience with:

  • Analytical control system theory  
  • Various PWM schemes (such as Sinusoidal and Space-Vector Modulation)
  • High-quality C code in an embedded microcontroller environment
  • Variable switching frequency controls
  • IGBTs 
  • Thermal management systems

AC Propulsion also notes that the best Senior Vehicle Motor Controls Engineers nearly always have stellar communication abilities and tend to be self-starters. The AC Propulsion hiring staff prefers you have a Ph.D. in a related field and know at least one coding language. (“At least one,” meaning the more, the better.)

Senior Power Electronics Engineer

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“We are looking for a Senior Power Electronics Engineer with broad experience in power electronics and motor drive control.” —AC Propulsion

Another senior position open at AC Propulsion! The Senior Power Electronics Engineer is responsible for circuit design, circuit analysis, the prototyping and testing of high voltage power electronics such as motor drives, DC to DC converters and battery chargers.


The Senior Power Electronics Engineer researches and specifies electrical components, schematics, PCB layouts, designs for environmental and EMI/EMC certification process that interface with other functional teams within the organization. It is the Senior Power Electronics Engineer who controls software development for inverters, chargers, and DC converters. In this position, you would effectively be a designer of inverter topologies, charger topologies, and DC to DC converter topologies.

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Senior Power Electronics Engineer Qualifications


To qualify for the Senior Power Electronics Engineer, you must meet the following qualifications:

  • Five years of industry experience and an MSEE
  • OR 10 years of experience in the industry AND a BSEE, ME or Physics degree

The Senior Power Electronics Engineer is expected to have knowledge of IGBT and MOSFET power and drive circuits as well as knowledge of control system designs.


You must be experienced with designing, analyzing and testing of high voltage switch-mode power supplies, as well as motor inverters and battery chargers. The following fields will greatly aid you in getting a job with AC Propulsion: magnetics design, power electronics, thermal analysis, computer-aided design tool. Ideally, you should possess an understanding of EMI/EMC mechanisms and mitigation, design for manufacturing principles, certification processes, and electrical safety and environmental standards.


 As always, excellent communication skills are a plus. AC Propulsion wishes that candidates have experience with electric vehicles and automotive products. They also note the ideal candidate will know the C, Assembler, and Visual C++ programming languages.

Motor Controls Engineer

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“We are looking for a Motor Controls Engineer with broad experience in motor drive control.” — AC Propulsion
Nothing gets done without engineers these days. You can be one of those who makes the world go round. The Motor Controls Engineer position controls the development, diagnostics, and testing of electric vehicle motor interfaces. They use Matlab Simulink to optimize these motor controls by employing hand coding capability.


It is the Motor Controls Engineer that passes the inverter and traction motors, meaning they assure these parts meet performance requirements. To this end, they control algorithm development, implementation, and testing.

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Motor Controls Engineer Requirements


If you wish to be a Motor Controls Engineer, you need an M.S. Degree in Electrical Engineering. You must also possess adequate communication skills and be available to travel up to 10% of the year.

Conclusion

If any of these positions interest you, we recommend you send your CV along to:

  • AC Propulsion 441 Borrego Ct, San Dimas, CA 91773

More information on what AC Propulsion does and how to contact them can be found online at: http://www.acpropulsion.com/index.php/contact-us. Best of luck with your new career prospects!



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