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MTSU signs pact with Turkish universities for automotive research

Meliksah University

Middle Tennessee State University is partnering with two Turkish universities to pursue groundbreaking automotive research and development surrounding the plug-in hybrid technology developed by an MTSU professor.

MTSU has signed a letter of intent with Meliksah University and Firat University in Turkey to pursue an academic and industrial partnership to further develop Charles Perry’s retrofit wheel-hub motor, according to a news release. Perry has gained international attention for his technology, which has the potential to cut a vehicle’s fuel consumption by half or more by turning it into a hybrid powered by gasoline and electricity.

Perry, who is the Russell Chair of Excellence in Manufacturing in MTSU’s Department of Engineering Technology, traveled to Meliksah University in Kayseri, Turkey, recently to secure the agreement, the release said. Joining him were Dr. Andrienne Friedli, director of MTSU’s Center for Advancement of Research and Scholarship, and Paul Martin, a long-time MTSU advocate and benefactor.

The letter of intent was signed by Meliksah University Rector Mahmut Mat. The trip follows a memorandum of understanding initiated by MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee two years ago for academic and cultural exchange with Meliksah, the release said.

MTSU officials believe the partnership will facilitate the development of Perry’s motor into a working invention that is ready to be licensed to automotive manufacturers throughout the world. As a part of the agreement, Meliksah University will obtain an industrial partner for the project, allowing the university to obtain a research grant through the Turkish government’s equivalent of the National Science Foundation.

“Turkey has the second highest petroleum cost in the world,” said Paul Martin, whose business contacts in Turkey paved the way for McPhee’s initial agreement with Meliksah. “The government there is willing to invest in fuel conservation technology.”

Perry invented a novel method of converting a standard gasoline-powered vehicle into a plug-in hybrid powered by a combination of gas and electricity with minor alteration of the vehicle’s rear wheel hub. Perry, who had 40 patents in a 28-year career with IBM before coming to MTSU, has also invented a switched reluctance motor design for use as a wheel-hub motor, the release said.

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