Mississippi State University wins EcoCAR competition

A look at the Hardware In the Loop stratagies employed by The Ohio State University EcoCAR Team:

From Green Right Now Reports

Students from Mississippi State University placed first in the 2010 EcoCAR: The NeXt Challenge finals in San Diego last week after designing and building a biodiesel extended-range electric vehicle. Virginia Tech finished with an ethanol-powered EREV design and Penn State came in third after building a biodiesel EREV vehicle.

Mississippi State beat 15 other universities to win the Year Two Finals of the three-year competition sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy and General Motors. The competition challenges university engineering students from across North America to re-engineer a GM-donated vehicle to minimize the vehicle's fuel consumption and emissions, while maintaining its utility, safety and performance.

During the second year of the EcoCAR competition, the teams utilized cutting-edge automotive engineering processes to move their designs into the physical vehicles. Once the vehicles were built and rolled out, they went through a series of safety and technical tests at GM's Desert Proving Grounds in Yuma, Ariz., similar to those conducted on production vehicles. Each of the cars was evaluated based on the ability to decrease fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, and maintain consumer acceptability in the areas of performance, utility and safety.

The Mississippi State EcoCAR team chose to design an EREV hybrid with a 21.3 kWh A123Systems battery pack, which provides an electric range of 60 miles. It's also equipped with a 1.3 L GM turbodiesel engine and 75 kW UQM generator in a series plug-in configuration. During testing, the vehicle's fuel economy stood out, achieving 118 miles per gallon gas equivalent (combined city/highway cycle). In addition to the overall winner's award, Mississippi State won nine additional awards, including performance events in auto-cross and acceleration.

"This was our most challenging year and stakes were high to have our vehicle ready for inspections. To finish a year of hard work and long hours in first place is an incredible honor for me and my teammates," Matt Doude of Mississippi State said in a statement. "We look forward to the next chapter of the competition – with so much talent among the schools it will not be an easy road to another victory. But it's this rigorous, hands-on process that gives us the valuable experience we'll need in the workplace."

The Virginia Tech EcoCAR team designed an EREV vehicle with a 40 mile electric range. Penn State's EcoCAR vehicle is also an EREV design, which includes a 12.8 kWh battery pack coupled with a GM 110 kW Electric Traction Motor and 75 kW UQM generator. It includes a 4-cylinder 1.3 L biodiesel engine and achieved more than double the fuel economy of the baseline vehicle, or 57 miles per gallon gas equivalent.

Here is a list of  schools participating in the competition:

  • Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
  • Georgia Tech
  • Michigan Technological University
  • Mississippi State University
  • Missouri Univ. of Science and Technology
  • North Carolina State University
  • The Ohio State University
  • University of 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
  • West Virginia University

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