Virginia Tech’s Extended-Range EV Wins EcoCAR Competition
WASHINGTON– Students from Virginia Tech University were named the overall winners of EcoCAR: The NeXt Challenge after designing and building an exceptional extended-range electric vehicle using E85 ethanol. The Virginia Tech team hit incremental goals that helped the vehicle achieve fuel efficiency of 81.9 miles per gallon gasoline equivalent, positioning them above the rest.
Virginia Tech’s EREV out-performed its competitors earlier this month when it was put through a series of safety and technical tests at General Motor’s Proving Ground in Milford, Mich., tests similar to those conducted on GM production vehicles.
“Designing an extended-range electric vehicle using E85 was challenging, but clearly worth it in the end,” said Patrick Walsh, co-team leader for Virginia Tech. “The entire team has put so much time and effort into designing and refining our vehicle, and we’ve gained valuable knowledge and hands-on experience that will prepare us for our engineering careers.”
“The ingenuity and dedication shown by the students of Virginia Tech in building this next-generation vehicle will help them launch careers as leaders in the clean energy field,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu.
“Congratulations to Virginia Tech! During the past three years, they have faced many challenges and consistently found smart and creative ways to address them,” said Mary Barra, senior vice president, global product development, General Motors. “The automotive industry is demanding these types of engineers, especially when advanced propulsion technologies are evolving so quickly. It’s exciting to know that these students will come to the table with fresh ideas that will help us move toward a cleaner, more fuel efficient future.”
Virginia Tech competed against 15 other universities to take home the top prize of the three-year competition sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy and General Motors. The competition challenged participating 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
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