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EcoCAR: Mississippi State University Wins Year Two Competition

Mississippi State University competed against 15 other universities to win first place in Year Two finals of the three-year EcoCAR: The NeXt Challenge competition sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and General Motors (GM), and man- aged by Argonne.

In the three-year competition, EcoCAR challenges university engineering students from across North America to re-engineer a GM-donated vehicle to minimize the vehicle’s fuel consumption and emissions, while maintaining its utility, safety and performance.

During Year Two of the EcoCAR competition, the teams used cutting-edge automotive engineer- ing processes, such as hardware-in-the loop (HIL) simulation, to move their designs into real vehicles.

Team mates Pierre Hinse and Helen Qin, from the University of Ontario Institute of Technolog , work on parts for their EcoCAR vehicle.

For the Year Two competition, the student vehicles went through a series of safety and technical tests at GM’s Desert Proving Grounds in Yuma, Ariz., similar to those con- ducted on production vehicles. Each of the cars was evaluated based on the ability to decrease fuel consumption and green- house gas emissions, and maintain consumer acceptability in the areas of performance, utility and safety.

The Mississippi State University winning EcoCAR team chose to design an extended-range electric vehicle (EREV) hybrid with a 21.3 kWh A123 Systems battery pack that pro- vided an electric range of 60 miles. The vehicle was also equipped with a 1.3 L GM turbodiesel engine and 75 kW UQM generator in a series plug-in configuration. During testing, the vehicle’s fuel economy stood out, achieving 118 miles per gallon gas equivalent (combined city/highway cycle).

In addition to the overall winner’s award, Missis- sippi State won nine additional awards including performance events in auto-cross and acceleration.

Virginia Tech earned second place in the Year Two competition with an ethanol EREV design and Penn State came in third with a biodiesel EREV vehicle.

“I congratulate Mississippi State on its outstand- ing work and well-deserved first-place finish,” said Pat Davis, program manager of DOE’s Vehicle Technologies Program. “The students’ hard work goes beyond this competition—each EcoCAR team member’s contribution and innovation is also help- ing to build a cleaner energy future.”

Tom Garcia from GM (center) works with students from Rose-Hulman during the EcoCAR competition at the General Motors Desert Proving Grounds.





Summer 2010

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