|The winner. Photo: David Freers|
Students from Mississippi State University took top honors at the third annual Challenge X: Crossover to Sustainable Mobility engineering competition, primarily sponsored by GM and the US Department of Energy (DOE).
The Mississippi State team designed a through-the-road parallel hybrid electric with a 1.9-liter GM direct injection turbodiesel engine fueled by B20 biodiesel, a 330V NiMH battery pack from Johnson Controls, and a 45 kW Ballard Integrated Power Transaxle. The vehicle achieved a 48% increase in fuel economy over the production 2005 Chevrolet Equinox that served as the basis for all the entries.
The second place vehicle, engineered by students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, is also a through-the-road parallel biodiesel electric hybrid design with a 1.9-liter GM diesel turbocharged engine that runs on B20, 228V NiMH battery pack from Johnson Controls, and a 45 kW Ballard transaxle.
Virginia Tech was awarded third place overall with a split parallel hybrid architecture that runs on E85 ethanol with a 2.3-liter turbo spark ignition engine, a 336V Cobasys NiMH pack, a 52 kW Ballard AC Induction Transaxle and an 8 kW MES AC Induction Belt-Alternator/Starter.
GM has already hired 40 students from the first two years of the competition, and intends to extend several offers at the conclusion of this year’s program, according to Larry Burns, vice president of GM Research and Development and Strategic Planning. Other Challenge X sponsors, including Caterpillar, National Instruments, Freescale Semiconductor, Johnson Controls and MotoTron, also have hired students out of the program.
Challenge X is a unique engineering competition that provides 17 university teams from across North America the opportunity to follow the GM Global Vehicle Development process and develop advanced propulsion technology solutions to increase energy efficiency and reduce environmental impact. The teams are using a variety of alternative fuels including biodiesel (B20), ethanol (E85), reformulated gasoline and hydrogen.
Additional highlights of the Challenge X 2007 vehicles include:
Twelve teams are using biodiesel fuel (B20).
The University of Waterloo has a dedicated hydrogen fuel cell for its primary propulsion source, and uses compressed hydrogen.
Three teams—Pennsylvania State University, Texas Tech University and the University of Tulsa—are using hydrogen as a supplementary or secondary propulsion source. Penn State is injecting hydrogen into their vehicle’s diesel engine as an emissions abatement strategy. The Texas Tech and Tulsa teams are using hydrogen to power auxiliary systems for their vehicles.
The University of California Davis is the only team to use plug-in hybrid technology for the energy source within their Challenge X vehicle. Their vehicle has an all-electric range on battery power.
The University of Michigan Challenge X team developed a hydraulic hybrid. Their vehicle also uses the electrical energy to propel the vehicle on electric-only power.
Two teams, Ohio State University and Virginia Tech, are using belt alternator/starter technology for an electric performance assist in their vehicles.
West Virginia University and the University of Akron are using ultracapacitors to source high levels of power for short periods of time and still recapture energy from braking.
The first year of the program, which began in 2004, focused on vehicle simulation and modeling and subsystem development and testing. In years two and three, students have been integrating their advanced powertrains and subsystems into the Chevrolet Equinox. In the fourth year, students will focus on customer acceptability and over-the-road reliability and durability of their advanced propulsion systems with real-world evaluation outside of the laboratory and proving ground environment.
The 17 teams participating in Challenge X include Michigan Technological University; Mississippi State University, The Ohio State University; Pennsylvania State University; Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, San Diego State University, Texas Tech 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, University of Wisconsin-Madison; Virginia Tech; and West Virginia University.
DOE and GM are the headline sponsors for Challenge X. Other sponsors include Natural Resources Canada; The MathWorks; National Instruments; Freescale Semiconductor; AVL Powertrain Engineering, Inc.; US Environmental Protection Agency; US Department of Transportation; National Science Foundation; BP; Sensors, Inc.; Cobasys; Chevron; Johnson Controls-SAFT Advanced Power Solutions; Ballard Power Systems, Inc.; Michelin North America; Renewable Fuels Association; Caterpillar, Inc.; Vector CANtech, Inc.; Intrepid Control Systems, Inc.; Hydrogenics Corporation; MotoTron Corporation; UGS; XM Radio and OnStar.