June 8, 2007


Mississippi State University students win Challenge X competition

Chris Whitt, team leader for Mississippi State University, celebrates while holding aloft the Challenge X first place team trophy in front of General Motors World Headquarters Thursday, June 7, 2007 in Detroit, Michigan.
Chris Whitt, team leader for Mississippi State University, celebrates while holding aloft the Challenge X first place team trophy in front of General Motors World Headquarters Thursday, June 7, 2007 in Detroit, Michigan.. Click image to enlarge

Detroit, Michigan – Students from Mississippi State University took top honours yesterday at the third annual Challenge X Competition, which required competitors to re-engineer a 2005 Chevrolet Equinox using advanced propulsion technologies. Lead sponsors for the Challenge were General Motors and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). The 17 teams included students from the University of Waterloo in Ontario.

The Equinox had to be re-engineered with increased fuel efficiency and reduced environmental impact, yet still retain its consumer appeal. The Mississippi team designed a through-the-road parallel hybrid electric vehicle with 1.9-litre GM direct-injection turbodiesel engine, fueled by B20 biodiesel. It achieved a 48 per cent increase in fuel economy over the production vehicle.

The second-place vehicle, engineered by students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, used a similar system. Third place went to Virginia Tech, which used a split parallel hybrid architecture with 2.3-litre turbo spark ignition engine that runs on E85 ethanol.

The Canadian team used a dedicated hydrogen fuel cell for its primary propulsion source, running on compressed hydrogen.

The program began in 2004, when the teams focused on vehicle simulation, modelling, subsystem development and testing. In years two and three, students integrated the powertrains and subsystems into the Equinox; in the fourth year, students will focus on customer acceptability and over-the-road reliability and durability. General Motors says that it has hired 40 students from the first two years of the competition, and plans to extend several offers at the conclusion of this year’s program.

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