June 25, 2002


University of Wisconsin students win FutureTruck competition

Beverly Hills, California – A team of students from the University of Wisconsin-Madison successfully managed to increase fuel efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions on a base 2002 Ford Explorer without sacrificing performance or safety to win the 2002 FutureTruck challenge. The team used a bio-diesel hybrid electric advanced technology system. The second place hybrid electric vehicle, from Michigan Tech University, ran on reformulated gasoline.

The goal of the FutureTruck competition is to lower emissions and achieve a 25 percent increase in over-the-road fuel economy of SUVs while maintaining the safety, performance and comfort levels that have made them so popular. The competition attracted 15 teams from top universities across North America.

The first place team succeeded in reducing the greenhouse gas index by 50 percent and increasing over-the-road fuel economy by 45 percent. The team reengineered components and used advanced materials such as an aluminum/steel hybrid frame and a titanium exhaust system. Seven out of ten teams achieved better overall over-the-road fuel economy compared to the base 2002 Ford Explorer and two teams managed to exceed the base Explorers performance, while still applying environmentally sound applications.

“This was such a challenging endeavour to undertake, but it is rewarding to participate and receive recognition,” said Dr. Glenn Bower, University of Wisconsin advisor. He added, “We’ve worked hard, tackled obstacles and in the end we succeeded above and beyond our goals.”

FutureTruck judging began June 11, 2002 at the Ford Motor Company Proving Ground in Yucca, Arizona and concluded at the California Motor Speedway in Fontana, California on June 21, 2002. Teams competed in twelve rigorous events that measured all aspects of the vehicles including: safety, performance, consumer acceptability and design evaluation. The FutureTruck awards ceremony was held at the Regent Beverly Wilshire hotel over the weekend.

“FutureTruck’s goals parallel Ford’s commitment to increasing the fuel economy of our vehicles, and what better way to discover innovative technologies then by facilitating the growth of tomorrow’s engineering talent,” said Bob Himes, Director of Engineering for Ford Motor Company.

The FutureTruck competition brings together government, industry and academia to explore clean, fuel-efficient automotive technologies. Ford Motor Company and the U.S. Department of Energy were the title sponsors for 2002. Ford will continue its commitment to FutureTruck and the 2003 competition will be part of the 100th Anniversary of Ford Motor Company taking place in Dearborn, Michigan at Ford headquarters.

“I congratulate all of the universities, team members, faculty and staff who embraced the FutureTruck challenge to explore clean, fuel-efficient automotive technologies which help reduce petroleum usage and CO2 emissions,” said Tom Gross, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Transportation Technologies at the U.S. Department of Energy. “I also want to thank Ford Motor Company for its support to make this project a success.”

Other major sponsors included the National Science Foundation, Cisco Systems, ArvinMeritor, Delphi, National Instruments, Natural Resources Canada, The MathWorks, The Aluminum Association, California Air Resources Board, Illinois Department of Commerce and Community Affairs; Wisconsin Soybean Association; Renewable Fuels Association; Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company; Ricardo Inc.; and BP.

Competing universities in the FutureTruck 2002 competition were: California Polytechnic State University, San Louis Obispo; Cornell University; Georgia Institute of Technology; Michigan Technological University; Ohio State University; Pennsylvania State University; Texas Tech University; University of Alberta; University of California, Davis; University of Idaho; University of Maryland; University of Tennessee; University of Wisconsin-Madison; Virginia Tech; and West Virginia University.

Additional information about FutureTruck is available on the Web at www.futuretruck.org

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