|The winner: the MSU biodiesel EREV. Click to enlarge.|
Students from Mississippi State University placed first in the 2010 EcoCAR: The NeXt Challenge finals in San Diego, Calif. after designing and building an biodiesel extended-range electric vehicle (EREV). Virginia Tech earned second place with an ethanol EREV design and Penn State came in third place building a biodiesel EREV.
The Mississippi State University EcoCAR team chose to design an EREV hybrid with a 21.3 kWh A123 Systems battery pack which provides an electric range of 60 miles. It’s also equipped with a 1.3L GM turbodiesel engine and 75 kW UQM generator in a series plug-in configuration. During testing, the vehicle achieved 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.
Mississippi State University competed against 15 other universities to win first place in Year Two Finals of the three-year competition sponsored by the US Department of Energy and General Motors (GM). 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. The winning teams will come together to answer questions about their work and vehicles during an online chat on 4 June at 3 pm EDT on the Inside the Green Garage blog.
During the second year of the EcoCAR competition, the teams utilized advanced automotive engineering processes, such as Hardware in the Loop (HIL) simulation, to move their designs into the physical vehicles. Once the vehicles were built and rolled out of their respective Green Garages, 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 Virginia Tech EcoCAR team designed an EREV vehicle with a 40 mile electric range using a 90 kW Ballard electric motor, 16 kW belted alternator starter and 21.3 kWh battery pack in a split parallel architecture. They chose to build the vehicle with a 2.4L Ethanol engine and use 78% less petroleum compared to the baseline vehicle.
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 1.3L biodiesel engine and achieved more than double the fuel economy of the baseline vehicle, or 57 miles per gallon gas equivalent.