West Virginia University’s EcoCAR team will leave for Daytona, Fla., Wednesday (Jan. 6) for preliminary judging in the competition’s Winter Workshop.
The student team is re-engineering a General Motors-donated vehicle as part of EcoCAR, a three-year national competition sponsored by GM and the U.S. Department of Energy. The goal is to make the vehicle more fuel efficient and reduce emissions while maintaining its performance and reliability.
In Daytona, judges will assess the team’s progress in implementing its design and its outreach efforts aimed at increasing public awareness of alternative fuel vehicles.
The WVU team is working on installing a GM two-mode transmission, a 1.3 liter turbo diesel engine fueled by a B20 biodiesel blend and a lithium ion battery system into its vehicle.
“We believe that these changes will increase the mileage of our vehicle by 17 miles per gallon in the city and 12 miles per gallon on the highway,” said Brody Conklin, a mechanical engineering major from Waynesburg, Pa., and the engineering team leader. “We also believe that this design will decrease greenhouse gas emissions by about 100 grams per kilometer.”
While primarily an engineering competition, the WVU EcoCAR team also includes five public relations students from WVU’s Perley Isaac Reed School of Journalism and a marketing student from the College of Business of Economics. Outreach team members have been organizing numerous presentations at area schools and other events to help spread the word abut EcoCAR.
“It’s exciting to see the team apply its design to the vehicle,” said Nicole Fernandes, a journalism graduate student from Charleston, and outreach coordinator for the team. “We’re thrilled to be able to share that excitement with the community and excited to see what happens in Daytona.”
WVU is one of 17 schools in the nation that has been chosen to participate in the three-year EcoCAR competition sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy and General Motors, and managed by Argonne National Laboratory. The students are currently in their second year of the competition. The team placed eighth overall in the Year 1 competition evaluation which took place this past June in Toronto.
Conklin said, “We are serious about this competition,” said Conklin. “Our showing in Toronto gave us a good indicator of where we were positioned. We want to perform well in Daytona, and I think we have the work ethic and a design that will let us do that.”
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