Engineering Students Design 'Green' Vehicles of the Future
University of Victoria and Mississippi State University Finish Second and
TORONTO, June 12 /CNW/ - Today university students from The Ohio State
University earned top honors at the 2009 finals of the EcoCAR: The NeXt
Challenge (http://www.ecocarchallenge.org/index.html) competition in Toronto,
Canada for their design of a Extended Range Electric Vehicle (EREV).
The Ohio State University took first place out of 17 universities in the
U.S. and Canada that competed in the first major milestone of this three-year
competition which is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy, General
Motors, and many others including the Government of Canada. The competition
challenges university engineering students across North America to re-engineer
a 2009 Saturn VUE to improve fuel efficiency and reduce emissions while
retaining the vehicle's performance and consumer appeal.
During the past year, participating teams have logged countless hours
working in their Green Garages to design the next generation of green vehicle
technologies. For this first year of competition, students were tasked with
creating innovative concepts for their vehicle design and given the
opportunity to use advanced software and computer modeling tools which allowed
for testing and refinement under the simulation of real-world conditions.
The winning team's EREV provides a practical solution that will increase
energy efficiency and reduce environmental impacts. The Ohio State's design
was powered by a 1.8 litre engine and fueled by E85 ethanol. The
next-generation design predicts a 300 per cent increase in fuel economy over
the production 4 cylinder vehicle.
"My teammates and I are thrilled to be named this year's winner of the
EcoCAR competition," said Eric Schacht, a student engineer and team leader
from The Ohio State team. "The many long days and late nights spent perfecting
our vehicle design paid off today, and we couldn't be more grateful for the
opportunity to participate in such an important competition."
The second place vehicle design, engineered by students at the University
of Victoria is also an EREV that runs on E85 ethanol. Mississippi State
University was awarded third place for its EREV, B20 biodiesel.
"All 17 EcoCAR teams worked tirelessly, studying the available
technologies, doing the necessary research, and formulating their incredible
designs. I want to congratulate The Ohio State for their hard work and
extraordinary concept - they have earned their first place honors," said John
Lushetsky, U.S. Department of Energy. "Each of the EcoCAR projects displayed a
superior quality of work and the innovative spirit that will be critical as
these future eco-engineers lead the country towards a clean energy future."
"The vehicle designs that each team has created represent the kinds of
technology that will drive our industry to a greener future. I commend all of
the teams for their hard work and creative thinking," said Elizabeth A.
Lowery, GM vice president, Environment, Energy and Safety Policy.
"At GM, we are reinventing the automobile and the company, and green
technology solutions are key to that reinvention. The EcoCAR competition
embodies the innovation and drive needed for our future success and we are
proud to be a part of this program."
In year two of the competition, teams incorporate their unique
powertrains into the Saturn VUE. In the final year, teams must refine their
vehicles to near-showroom quality.
"The Government of Canada is proud to support the development of
commercially viable, cleaner vehicle technologies which will only help to
improve our economy and the environment," said the Honourable Lisa Raitt,
Canada's Minister of Natural Resources. "It is truly inspiring to see the
dedication and innovative spirit every one of these teams has brought to the
Students were encouraged to explore a variety of solutions including
hybrid, plug-in hybrid, fuel cell, electric, and extended range electric
- Extended Range Electric Vehicles (EREV): Almost half of the EcoCAR
teams, including Ohio State, University of Wisconsin, and Virginia
Tech chose to design Extended Range Electric Vehicles, which, like
GM's Chevy Volt, demonstrate full performance with an electric
powertrain for all electric driving and an optimized combustion
engine that can extend the range of the vehicle with its on-board
fuel storage. The other EREV teams are Embry-Riddle Aeronautical
University, Mississippi State University, North Carolina State
University, Penn State and University of Victoria.
- Full Function Electric Vehicle (FFEV): One team, University of
Ontario Institute of Technology chose to design a Full Function
Electric Vehicle, which emits zero emissions consuming no liquid or
- Fuel Cell Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (FC-PHEV): Two of the
seventeen EcoCAR teams, University of Waterloo and Missouri
University of Science and Technology, have designed a Fuel Cell Plug-
in Hybrid Vehicle which uses an onboard hydrogen fuel cell to either
propel the vehicle or recharge a battery pack.
- Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEV): Six of the EcoCAR teams,
including Texas Tech, West Virginia University, and Michigan Tech
have designed Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles which utilize a large
lithium ion battery. The other PHEV teams include Howard University,
Georgia Tech, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology.
While each of the 17 EcoCAR designs is unique, the common attributes
- Lithium Ion Battery Technology: All of the EcoCAR designs use state-
of-the-art lithium ion battery technology, so the vehicles are able
to store more electric energy in smaller, lighter packages.
- Plug-In Capability: All of the EcoCAR vehicles have plug-in
capability, which can significantly reduce on-road petroleum
consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.
- Renewable Fuels: All of the EcoCAR vehicles that require liquid fuels
use types that blend in a renewable energy source, biodiesel or
ethanol. This further displaces petroleum which significantly reduces
the amount of greenhouse gases emitted from the vehicle's tailpipes.
- Powertrain Diversity: Many EcoCAR teams like The University of
Victoria, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, and Howard University
have innovative powertrains that let one vehicle operate in engine-
only, hybrid-electric, and electric only modes to optimize efficiency
Additional information about the EcoCAR competition and photos are
available on the Web at: http://www.ecocarchallenge.org;
EcoCAR is a three-year competition that builds on the 20-year history of
DOE advanced vehicle technology competitions by giving engineering students
the chance to design and build advanced vehicles that demonstrate leading-edge
automotive technologies. General Motors provides production vehicles, vehicle
components, seed money, technical mentoring and operational support. The U.S.
Department of Energy and its research and development facility, Argonne
National Laboratory provides competition management, team evaluation,
technical and logistical support. Through this important partnership, EcoCAR
aims to inspire and support the next generation of scientists and engineers to
unite around the common goal of sustainable mobility.
Headline Sponsors: The U.S. Department of Energy and General Motors
Diamond Sponsors: The Government of Canada and The California Air
Platinum Sponsors: A123 Systems, Inc, dSPACE, National Instruments, The
Mathworks, Freescale Semiconductor, AVL Powertrain Engineering, Inc, and
The Environmental Protection Agency.
2009 Event Sponsors: The Ontario Government, Ontario Centres of
Excellence, Ontario Power Authority and the City of Toronto.
Participating Schools: Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Georgia
Tech, Howard University, Michigan Technological University, Mississippi State
University, Missouri University of Science and Technology, North Carolina
State University, The Ohio State University, Ontario Institute of Technology,
Pennsylvania State University, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, Texas Tech
University, University of Victoria, University of Waterloo, University of
Wisconsin, Virginia Tech and West Virginia University.
For further information:
For further information: Katherine Clark, Cathy Cowan, Cowan & Company,
(416) 462-8773 ext. 55 or firstname.lastname@example.org