Mississippi State drives home with year-two EcoCAR trophy

Summary:Engineering students from Mississippi State University were victorious at the end of the second year of the EcoCAR challenge, a green-tech design competition co-sponsored by the U.S.

Engineering students from Mississippi State University were victorious at the end of the second year of the EcoCAR challenge, a green-tech design competition co-sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy and General Motors.

The university teams are being evaluated on their ability to create a vehicle that decreased fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, while retaining certain levels of consumer acceptance. GM donated the vehicles used by the 16 teams for the competition. The point of the competition is for these students to redesign an existing vehicle to meet improved fuel efficiency and environmental standards. Personally, I like the fact that the teams are using suburban utility vehicles because, as my friend with five kids will tell you, some families just don't find itty-bitty electric cars practical.

The EcoCAR designs fall into four different categories: extended-range electric, plug-in hybrid electric, fuel cell plug-in hybrid electric and full-function electric. The cross-over SUVs were tested at the GM Desert Proving Ground in Yuma, Ariz. They have been designed over the course of the past two years, and this was the first proof point of those designs.

The Mississippi team's car was an extended-range electric vehicle running off a 21.3 kilowatts-hour A123Systems battery package, a 1.3L GM turbodiesel engine and a 75-kilowatt UQM generator. During the tests, their entry managed to get 118 miles per gallon, for a combined city/highway cycle. The team also won separate tests for auto cross and acceleration.

Here's more information about the contest and its general mission.

So here's the challenge for the next year: To refine and improve on the vehicles.

Topics: CXO

About

Heather Clancy is an award-winning business journalist specializing in transformative technology and innovation. Her articles have appeared in Entrepreneur, Fortune Small Business, The International Herald Tribune and The New York Times. In a past corporate life, Heather was editor of Computer Reseller News. She started her journalism lif... Full Bio

zdnet_core.socialButton.googleLabel Contact Disclosure

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Related Stories

The best of ZDNet, delivered

You have been successfully signed up. To sign up for more newsletters or to manage your account, visit the Newsletter Subscription Center.
Subscription failed.