The innovative vehicle designs that EcoCAR teams are employing include systems optimized for renewable energy source fuels such as hydrogen, ethanol, electricity and biodiesel. In addition, many of the teams are exploring advanced technologies such as lithium ion battery technology, extended-range electric vehicle operation and plug-in hybrid electric vehicle capability. EcoCAR was organized by a collaboration of industry and government sponsors with the goal of providing a unique opportunity for students to learn about and develop future technology through a hands-on competition. EPA plays an important role in the competition by providing: emissions testing expertise, judging team technical and outreach presentations, hosting a EcoCAR technical workshop and performing chassis dynamometer testing on EcoCAR vehicles at the EPA’s National Vehicle and Fuel Emissions Laboratory (NVFEL) in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
EPA has committed to this project because of the environmental benefits that can result from new technology in the transportation sector. For example, the winning design in year two of EcoCAR from Mississippi State University was an extended-range, biodiesel and electric hybrid vehicle. The vehicle is equipped with a a 1.3 L GM turbo diesel engine and 75 kW UQM generator in a series plug-in configuration, and a 21.3 kWh A123Systems battery pack. In this configuration, the vehicle achieved an all electric range of 60 miles and 118 miles per gallon gasoline equivalent (combined city/highway cycle)!
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