Mississippi State University has earned top honours in the Challenge X student engineering competition, sponsored by General Motors and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).
Mississippi State University has earned top honours in the Challenge X student engineering competition, sponsored by General Motors and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). Click image to enlarge

Washington, D.C. – Mississippi State University has earned top honours in the Challenge X student engineering competition, sponsored by General Motors and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). The challenge required 17 university teams, including one from the University of Waterloo in Ontario, to reengineer a Chevrolet Equinox with advanced powertrain technologies, meeting goals of improved fuel economy and lower emissions while maintaining driver comfort and vehicle performance.

The four-year program, which began in 2004, focused on vehicle simulation, modelling and subsystem development, and testing in its first year. In years two and three, students integrated their powertrains and subsystems into the Equinox, and in the fourth year, focused on customer acceptability, reliability and durability, and real-world evaluation outside of laboratory and proving ground environments.

The Mississippi State team designed a through-the-road parallel hybrid vehicle, powered by a 1.9-litre direct injection turbodiesel engine fueled by B20 biodiesel. It achieved a 38 per cent increase in fuel economy over the production vehicle on a modified urban test cycle.

Second place went to the University of Wisconsin, which also produced a biodiesel parallel hybrid vehicle, while third place went to Ohio State University for its power-split hybrid electric vehicle with B20 turbodiesel engine. The University of Waterloo’s entry used a dedicated hydrogen fuel cell, the only entry to use hydrogen as its primary propulsion source.

Some of the other Challenge X sponsors, including The MathWorkers National Instruments, Freescale Semiconductor, Johnson Controls, Caterpillar and MotoTron have hired students from the program.

“The Government of Canada is proud to support the Challenge X competition,” said Michael Wilson, Canada’s Ambassador to the U.S. “Forums like Challenge X give our engineers of tomorrow a chance to prove that they can design emissions-free vehicles that function optimally. Today, more than ever, we need to make clean and innovative vehicles a reality.”

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