San Diego, California – A student team from Mississippi State University has placed first over 15 other university teams, including three from Canada, in the second year of the three-year EcoCAR Challenge.
The competition, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy, gives engineering students the chance to design and build advanced vehicles that demonstrate leading-edge automotive technologies. The teams re-engineer a vehicle donated by General Motors to minimize its fuel consumption and emissions, while maintaining its utility, safety and performance.
The Mississippi team placed first after designing and building a biodiesel extended-range electric vehicle (EREV). Virginia Tech took second with an ethanol-powered EREV design, while Penn State came third with a biodiesel EREV vehicle.
The first-year challenge, held in Toronto, required students to design the vehicle, including writing a design report, and presenting a business program and trade show display. The winner was Ohio State University. During the second year, the teams used cutting-edge automotive engineering processes, such as Hardware in the Loop (HIL) simulation, to move the designs into the physical vehicles. Once the vehicles were built, they went through a series of safety and technical tests at GM’s Desert Proving Grounds in Yuma, Arizona, similar to those conducted on production vehicles. Mississippi State’s vehicle achieved the equivalent of 1.9 L/100 km (142 mpg Imp); it uses a 1.3-litre GM turbodiesel engine with battery pack, providing an electric range of 100 km.
In addition to the overall winner’s award, Mississippi State won nine other awards, including performance events in autocross and acceleration.
The Canadian teams are from the University of Waterloo in Ontario, the University of Victoria in British Columbia, and the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) in Oshawa, Ontario.