The graduate and undergraduate students are part of a team competing in EcoCAR 2: Plugging In to the Future, a three-year collegiate engineering competition established by the U.S. Department of Energy and General Motors. They've spent the past year planning their design with the goal of making the GM-donated car a better, more efficient hybrid vehicle than what is currently on the roadways. Now, they get to see their hard work pay off as they begin to implement their design into the car.
The EcoCAR 2 competition challenges the next generation of automotive engineers to reduce the environmental impact of a 2013 Chevrolet Malibu without compromising performance, safety and consumer acceptability. UT is one of 15 universities in North America participating in the challenge.
A year into the competition, the students have used math-based tools to model and design their own unique architecture for a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle. They'll select the system's powertrain components the same way major automakers do.
"The real-world experience these students are receiving is invaluable," said David Irick, co-adviser and research professor in the College of Engineering's Department of Mechanical, Aerospace and Biomedical Engineering. "They will actually get to see something they've developed in practice. But what is more is that we are training our future engineers to create products that take into account the environmental impact."
The arrival of the Malibu marks the official entry into Phase II of the competition where the design is applied to the car. The design, called series-parallel plug-in hybrid electric vehicle architecture, will improve the vehicle's environmental impact and efficiency in three ways.
First, the vehicle will be able to couple and de-couple the engine from the wheels while still providing electric power from the battery and/or generator to drive an electric motor. Second, the vehicle will have a large, high-voltage battery pack which allows the vehicle to run on electric power. If the battery—which can be charged using a standard wall outlet—gets depleted, the vehicle will use a combination of an engine and electric motor. Third, the vehicle will utilize E85 fuel which is a blend of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline and burns cleaner.
"The technology in these advanced vehicles is allowing us to use multiple sources of energy within the vehicle, which, in the end, allows us to use less fuel more efficiently on an average commute," said Mitchel Routh, controls team lead and a graduate student in mechanical engineering.
While translating their design into reality, the team is also developing a working vehicle that meets the competition's goals. The competition culminates at the end of each academic year when all of the schools and their vehicles come together to compete in more than a dozen static and dynamic events. UT won sixth place in Phase I's competition. Winners receive cash awards. Since 1989, UT has had more than 500 students participate in similar projects.
GM provides production vehicles, vehicle components, seed money, technical mentoring and operational support to EcoCAR 2. The DOE and its research and development facility, Argonne National Laboratory, provide competition management, team evaluation and technical and logistical support. In total the 15 teams have been given $745 million. UT's team has received additional support of $50,000 from Denso North America Foundation.
For more information on the student engineering program, the participating schools, or the competition sponsors, please visit www.ecocarchallenge.org or www.greengarageblog.org.
Protein design – A construction kit full of opportunities
25.03.2015 | Max-Planck-Institut für Entwicklungsbiologie
University of Luxembourg physicist is awarded a grant by the European Research Council
23.03.2015 | Universität Luxemburg - Université du Luxembourg
In an experiment at the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, scientists precisely measured the temperature and structure of aluminum as...
The IPH presents a solution at HANNOVER MESSE 2015 to make ship traffic more reliable while decreasing the maintenance costs at the same time. In cooperation with project partners, the research institute from Hannover, Germany, has developed a sensor system which continuously monitors the condition of the marine gearbox, thus preventing breakdowns. Special feature: the monitoring system works wirelessly and energy-autonomously. The required electrical power is generated where it is needed – directly at the sensor.
As well as cars need to be certified regularly (in Germany by the TÜV – Technical Inspection Association), ships need to be inspected – if the powertrain stops...
When an earthquake hits, the faster first responders can get to an impacted area, the more likely infrastructure--and lives--can be saved.
The Atlantic overturning is one of Earth’s most important heat transport systems, pumping warm water northwards and cold water southwards. Also known as the Gulf Stream system, it is responsible for the mild climate in northwestern Europe.
Scientists now found evidence for a slowdown of the overturning – multiple lines of observation suggest that in recent decades, the current system has been...
Because they are regularly subjected to heavy vehicle traffic, emissions, moisture and salt, above- and underground parking garages, as well as bridges, frequently experience large areas of corrosion. Most inspection systems to date have only been capable of inspecting smaller surface areas.
From April 13 to April 17 at the Hannover Messe (hall 2, exhibit booth C16), engineers from the Fraunhofer Institute for Nondestructive Testing IZFP will be...
25.03.2015 | Event News
19.03.2015 | Event News
17.03.2015 | Event News
27.03.2015 | Agricultural and Forestry Science
27.03.2015 | Materials Sciences
27.03.2015 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation