ENME 454 - Vehicle Dynamics

3 Credits


Nguyen, Vincent


Fundamentals of Vehicle Dynamics, Tom Gillespie, Society of Automotive Engineers, 1992.

Supplemental Materials: Lecture notes and various vehicle data.


Corequisite: ENME 361


The fundamentals of passenger vehicle and light truck design and vehicle dynamics are covered. The engineering principles associated with acceleration, braking, handling, ride quality, aerodynamics, and tire mechanics are discussed, as well as suspension and steering design.
As a part of the UMD Chesapeake Project, a portion of this course will focus on ideas of sustainability and sustainable development.  Specific considerations relate to the role and use of technology in the reduction of resource consumption and emissions of automotive vehicles.


In this course the student will develop and/or refine the following areas of knowledge:

  • Understand basic mechanisms of passenger car vehicles
  • Use engineering principals to describe, develop, and design automotive components
  • Apply engineering principals and analysis to model acceleration performance in detail (including lateral and longitudinal weight transfer)
  • Understand current state of the art mechanisms and algorithms for fuel efficiency and hybrid powertrains
  • Combine engineering principals and empirical data to model and describe vehicle steady state handling behavior
  • Describe and analyze suspension force transfer mechanisms and to understand how these affect vehicle dynamic performance
  • Formulate and analyze state-space representations of vehicle ride modeling 
  • Learn how to work and function in groups for small projects
  • Use Matlab effectively to solve engineering problems


  • Rigid body vehicle acceleration and weight transfer
  • Engine and powertrain performance
  • Automatic and manual transmission design and function
  • Differential design and function
  • Braking system design and function
  • Aerodynamic and road loads
  • Hybrid powertrains
  • Tires and tire performance
  • Steady-state handling performance and classifications
  • Suspension design, analysis, and modeling
  • Shock and ride modeling
  • Steering system components and performance

Class/Laboratory Schedule 

  • Two 75 minute lecture sessions each week

Last Updated By 
Dr. Vincent Nguyen, June 2017