West Virginia University and the University of Maryland beat out 13 other North American schools to win bragging rights for creating the most fuel-efficient, environmentally friendly sport utility vehicle.

WVU and Maryland were the overall winners of FutureTruck 2000 June 8-15 in Mesa, Ariz. WVU placed first in two individual categories. The six-student teams vehicle produced the lowest greenhouse gas emissions (a 23 percent reduction) and finished first in lowest vehicle driving losses.

“This is certainly the best result weve ever had with a student vehicle competition,”said mechanical and aerospace engineering Professor Chris Atkinson, faculty adviser for WVUs team.”Its extremely gratifying after all the hard work the team has done in the last six months. Its only with the support of many people at WVU that we were able to achieve first place.”

As co-winners, WVU received $10,000 and a sculpture award, Atkinson said.The money will go toward next year’s FutureTruck project, as well as covering some costs incurred this year, he added.

Fifteen student teams from the United States and Canada participated in this years competition, which evolved from the FutureCar Challenge.

Participants were required to modify the power train of a sport utility vehicle to increase fuel economy. They could employ various advanced technologies, including hydrogen fuel cells, hybrid power trains that combine electric motors with internal combustion engines, space-age lightweight materials, advanced electronics and alternative fuels.

WVUs vehicle was re-engineered as a hybrid electric vehicle.

The FutureTruck teams competed in more than a dozen events. They were evaluated on safety, performance, towing ability, greenhouse gas emissions, fuel economy, consumer acceptability and other features.

The U.S. Department of Energy, General Motors and Yahoo! Inc. were the main sponsors of the competition. GM donated a new Chevrolet Suburban and $10,000 to get each team started. Yahoo! broadcast portions of the competition and June 15 awards ceremony over the Internet.

WVU FutureTruck team members who went to Arizona were Jason Conley, team leader, Bridgeport; Sam Taylor, Richwood; and Steven Glaeser, Csaba Toth Nagy, Emmanuel Malenya and Nene Azu, all of Morgantown. They are mechanical and aerospace engineering students in the College of Engineering and Mineral Resources.

Other universities that competed were Concordia University, Cornell University, George Washington University, Georgia Tech, Michigan Technological University, Ohio State University, Penn State University, Texas Tech University, University of California at Davis, University of Idaho, University of Tennessee, University of Wisconsin-Madison and Virginia Tech.

A complete list of all awards is available on the web athttp://futuretruck.home.att.net.

More information about FutureTruck 2000 is available on the web athttp://www.futuretruck.org.

To find out more about WVUs FutureTruck project, visit the teams web site athttp://www.cemr.wvu.edu/~hev/index.html.