Purdue wins 'EcoCAR 2' accolades in creating hybrid-electric vehicle

June 18, 2014  


Meckl_Ecocar

Purdue University President Mitch Daniels, at right, discusses the EcoCAR 2 project with mechanical engineering professor Peter Meckl and student Kevin Oswald. A group of Purdue engineering and technology students placed fourth in the EcoCAR 2 competition to convert an ordinary sedan into an ultra-efficient hybrid-electric vehicle. (Steven Yang/Purdue University)

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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — A group of Purdue University engineering and technology students won kudos in a competition to convert an ordinary sedan into an ultra-efficient hybrid-electric vehicle.

EcoCAR 2 was established by the U.S. Department of Energy and General Motors to reduce the environmental impact of passenger vehicles. In completing the three-year program, the Purdue team's mission was to design and implement hybrid-electric power train technology in a 2013 Chevrolet Malibu.

Eleven Purdue students accompanied by two faculty members competed against 14 other universities at events in Michigan and Washington, D.C., from June 1-12. Student communications, business and technical teams presented their work, including the finished Malibu.

Purdue's team, called the EcoMakers, placed fourth overall.

"We were one of only six teams to successfully complete the challenging Emissions and Energy Consumption event," said Peter Meckl, a professor of mechanical engineering and lead faculty adviser. "The students did an awesome job, working hard to overcome several setbacks. Their perseverance paid off. It was a great way to end the competition."

The Purdue team also won for best braking distance, and was runner-up for lowest greenhouse gas emissions.

The vehicle was tested in several categories including safety, acceleration, braking, handling, emissions and energy consumption measured over a 100-mile trip consisting of repeated sequences of "city" and "highway" driving modes.

The program has benefited students by preparing them for careers in industry, said Gregory Shaver, an associate professor of mechanical engineering and an adviser who accompanied the students.

"When they enter the job market they will already be conversant in the lingo and understand the protocols," he said. "They will understand issues like project management, how to deal with tight budgets and engineering problems, and they will be familiar with relevant technologies and software."

The other advisers were Oleg Wasynczuk, a professor of electrical and computer engineering; Eric Dietz, a professor in the College of Technology; and Henry Zhang, an associate professor in the College of Technology.

More information about the EcoCAR 2 project is available at http://www.purdue.edu/ecocar2, and a link to the official EcoCAR 2 blog is http://www.greengarageblog.org/

The Purdue team had a total of about 30 graduate and undergraduate students.

The car's original silver paint job was overlaid with a vinyl wrap that incorporates Purdue's colors with a "green" hybrid-car motif. The vehicle will remain at Purdue for future student projects.

Sponsors of EcoCAR 2 include the U.S. Department of Energy, General Motors, Natural Resources Canada, Math Works, California Air Resources Board, Clean Cities, dSPACE, Inc., A123 Systems Inc., Freescale, AVL Powertrain Engineering, Inc., National Science Foundation, ETAS, Snap-On Tools, Magna E-Car Systems, Magna Powertrain, Robert Bosch, LLC, FleetCarma, Siemens NX, CD-adapco, VentorCANtech, Inc., Woodward, Caterpillar, John Deere, Faurecia, Bill DeFouw Chevrolet and Creative Inc.

Writer: Emil Venere, 765-494-4709, venere@purdue.edu

Sources: Peter Meckl, 765-494-5686, meckl@purdue.edu

Alexandra P. Johnson, EcoCAR2 communications manager, johns589@purdue.edu

Related website:

Purdue EcoCAR 2 Facebook page

Related news release:

Purdue University EcoCar2 announces plug-in hybrid architecture

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