Saturday, August 20, 2011

EcoCAR Challenge Results

USA Today has an interesting summary of a 3-year EcoCAR competition sponsored by the Department of Energy and General Motors.  The article says:

The teams focused on design during the first year, when Ohio State University placed first. They emphasized implementing that design in the second year, when Mississippi State University in Starkville, MS.,won top honors.
In this final year, they focused on refinements to make the vehicle 98% consumer acceptable, says DeClark, adding it's nearly impossible to satisfy 100% of consumers. She says the cars won't be commercially produced but there are "many applications for these technologies."
A team from Virginia Tech won. They "started with a GM-donated Saturn Vue and swapped out the engine with one from a 2009 Chevy HHR engine. It then added a battery and electric motor and made other tweaks such as eliminating engine idle."

The team leader for Virginia Tech, Lynn Gantt, is "going to work for GM in Michigan, along with five other team members. "

The 80 MPG achievement is particularly noteworthy because they took existing models and engines and had to achieve a high level of consumer acceptability.  That's a sharp contrast with the X-Prize winners that achieve 100 MPG, but in vehicles that are not road ready

 The difference in gallons per 100 miles between 80 and 100 MPG is a quart of gas.