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Virginia Tech Team Wins Year 2 of Challenge X with E85 Hybrid Design

8 June 2006

Vatech
Virginia tech team and their winning hybrid.

Students from the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) took top honors today in the Challenge X event for this year, the second competition in a three-year series.

The Virginia Tech team re-engineered their 2005 Chevrolet Equinox as a split-parallel hybrid with a 2.0-liter E85 flex-fuel engine (a Saab BioPower engine) and a 67 kW motor with a 288V NiMH battery pack.

In second place vehicle was the University of Wisconsin-Madison, with a through-the-road parallel diesel-electric hybrid with a 1.9-liter turbocharged diesel. Mississippi State University took third place overall with a split-parallel, through-the-road diesel-electric hybrid. Both those vehicles ran on B20 biodiesel.

Challenge X is a three-year engineering competition sponsored by GM and the Department of Energy. Seventeen university teams are each re-engineering a stock 2005 Chevy Equinox with their own technology solutions.

The first year of the program, which began in 2004, focused on vehicle simulation and modeling and subsystem development and testing. For this year, the teams focused on powertrain development and demonstration of the energy use and emissions goals of the competition. Team vehicles were judged extensively in categories such as towing capacity, acceleration, off-road performance, greenhouse gas impact, total well-to-wheels fuel economy, emissions, and consumer acceptability. Teams also had to give technical oral presentations and submit an SAE-style technical paper.

Year Three will require further refinement of the vehicle with the goal of delivering a “showroom vehicle” that addresses the requirements of consumers.

Developing the advanced technologies that reduce US dependence on imported oil is critical to the future prosperity of our country. Challenge X shows that the cooperation of industry, government and academia is an excellent approach to developing more energy-efficient and “greener” automotive technologies.

—Ed Wall, DOE program manager for FreedomCAR and Vehicle Technologies Office

The additional teams participating in Challenge X include: Michigan Technological University; Pennsylvania State University; Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology; San Diego State University; Texas Tech University; The Ohio State University; University of Akron; University of California, Davis; University of Michigan; University of Tennessee; University of Texas at Austin; University of Tulsa; University of Waterloo; and West Virginia University.

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June 8, 2006 in Conferences and other events, Ethanol, Hybrids | Permalink | Comments (7) | TrackBack (1)

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Comments

Amazing! Nowhere can you find what the mpg was on any of these.

If the goal was mpg and you don't report it; what's the point.

I once won first place in a watermelon seed spitting contest but I'm not going to tell you how far I spit it.

The University of calif -- Davis, had a plug in with 200 mpg (est). What is the indifference that seems to bring about an anti-PHEV attitude? It seems pretty simple -- PHEV is a good way to go but it can't even win honorable mention in an event like this. I know, I know, even a PHEV is not "green" if you recharge it with a coal fired palnt but heh, if you recharge with a "green" source (solar, wind, wave, bio-fuel, fuel cell) then it's sure beats keeping the a-rabs from foaming at the mouth.

The University of calif -- Davis, had a plug in with 200 mpg (est). What is the indifference that seems to bring about an anti-PHEV attitude? It seems pretty simple -- PHEV is a good way to go but it can't even win honorable mention in an event like this. I know, I know, even a PHEV is not "green" if you recharge it with a coal fired palnt but heh, if you recharge with a "green" source (solar, wind, wave, bio-fuel, fuel cell) then it's sure beats keeping the a-rabs from foaming at the mouth.

The University of calif -- Davis, had a plug in with 200 mpg (est). What is the indifference that seems to bring about an anti-PHEV attitude? It seems pretty simple -- PHEV is a good way to go but it can't even win honorable mention in an event like this. I know, I know, even a PHEV is not "green" if you recharge it with a coal fired palnt but heh, if you recharge with a "green" source (solar, wind, wave, bio-fuel, fuel cell) then it's sure beats keeping the a-rabs from foaming at the mouth.

Will the 'Sponsor' eventually license and use the technology? What is the legal arrangement with the participating Universities? Is this just a PR demo?.

@Harvey D: I think, this is a typical PR thing. They just want more money for their R&D. A first "promising" result is expected, when India produces 18 billion gallons biofuels in 2025. By that time, they have burnt 60 Mio. $ of taxpayers money. Result: nothing concrete.

I've got a solution: buy a Ford Focus Wagon.

safer, greener (especially w/ the 2.3 liter pzev engine), quicker, more practical and probably costs less than the battery pack the Va Tech team used.

I think the competition is cool in theory and I would probably participate if I could, but it just doesn't make a lot of sense to me to start with a brick-shaped 2 ton lump of steel if your goal is to build an efficient car.

Also, I wish people would stop quoting silly 200 mpg numbers for plug-ins. I understand that under some circumstances the driver could drive put 200 miles on the car and also consume only 1 gallon of fuel, but it is like saying that you car gets 15,000 miles per windshield wiper blade.

It is true, but uninteresting.

In the case of a 200 mpg plug-in SUV, 30 of those miles will be gas powered and 170 of them will be battery powered. In the case of a 200 mpg plug-in insight, maybe 80 of those miles will be gas powered and 120 will be battery powered. According to the uninformative "200 mpg" standard, these vehicles are identical in fuel economy, even though the SUV will consume 4 times as much energy.

So, maybe a more useful number would be miles per dollar (depends on where you live and varies quickly, but would really be the most useful) or miles per megajoule or kWhr or, if you must, miles per kilogram of CO2 output (but this would be complicated by the fact that you have to include not only regional variations in electricity carbon, but also the lifecycle CO2 output for the creation and disposal of the battery).

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