After the second year of competition in the EcoCAR challenge, students from Mississippi State University won first place with their extended-range electric vehicle.
During the second year of competition, teams transformed Saturn Vues into ultra-high-mileage vehicles based on designs the teams conceived during the first year of competition. The Saturns were donated by GM, who sponsors the competition along with the U.S. Department of Energy, the Canadian government and the Argonne National Laboratory.
The competition is meant to prepare future leaders in automotive engineering, so the student cars have to pass the same tests as GM’s production vehicles. Those tests took place last week at GM’s Desert Proving Grounds in Yuma, AZ and ensured that all the cars were consumer-ready.
In addition to coming out tops in auto-cross and acceleration, Mississippi State’s car impressed the judges with an overall fuel economy of 118 MPG-equivalent, made possible by batteries from A123 and a 1.3L GM turbodiesel engine burning biofuel acting as a range extender.
“To finish a year of hard work and long hours in first place is an incredible honor for me and my teammates,” said Mississippi State’s Matt Doude. “We look forward to the next chapter of the competition.”
In second place came the team from Virginia Tech, whose VT-Rex we profiled in April. Third place went to Penn State who also built a biodiesel range-extended EV.