A high-mileage, low-pollution car built by students at the University of California, Davis, will drive from Hockenheim, Germany to Paris, France between Sept. 22 and 25 as part of the Challenge Bibendum, a competition run by tire manufacturer Michelin to promote new technology in automobiles.
UC Davis is the only university represented among 70 participants including auto industry giants Ford, DaimlerChryser and Honda. Graduate students Eric Chattot, Thomas Dreumont and Charnjiv Bangar from the university’s Hybrid Electric Vehicle laboratory will drive the car.
The UC Davis vehicle, "Coulomb," is a Mercury Sable converted to a gas-electric hybrid engine with a continuously variable transmission. An electric motor drives the wheels at lower speeds for city driving. On the highway, a 660 cc gas engine provides extra power and also maintains battery charge. The batteries can also be recharged from a domestic power supply. Coulomb has an all-aluminum body to reduce weight with additional streamlining to reduce wind resistance.
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