Rose-Hulman Students to Unveil New EcoCAR Effort

Inside INdiana Business relays the story of one of Indiana’s fine educational institutions as its students work toward the ever-elusive game changer in the world of sustainable driving. Kudos to Rose-Hulman, and good luck in the competition:

Under development for two academic years, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology students are set to unveil a prototype advanced technology vehicle that has been designed to achieve improved fuel economy and reduced greenhouse gas emissions for EcoCAR: The Next Challenge, a national engineering design competition sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy and General Motors Corporation to encourage energy-conscious advanced transportation engineers.

A special unveiling ceremony and information session is set for Friday, May 7, from 2:30-3:15 p.m. on the patio of the Hulman Union. The public is invited to come and examine the vehicle and talk with team members about the project.

Students have spent countless hours developing a hybrid-electric sport utility vehicle that features a 1.3-liter Fiat diesel engine using B-20 diesel fuel, a four speed automatic GM transmission, two TM4 electric motors arranged in a parallel pre-post transmission architecture and an innovative, high-performance battery system provided by Indiana advanced lithium-ion battery maker EnerDel Inc.

Rose-Hulman’s vehicle will be shipped on Saturday, May 8, to participate in the EcoCAR’s Year II Competition Finals being conducted May 17-27 at the GM Desert Proving Ground in Yuma, Ariz., and at locations throughout San Diego, Calif. The vehicle will be judged in more than a dozen technical events, and must meet California Air Resources Board (CARB) zero emission vehicle (ZEV) regulations.

Rose-Hulman is the only Indiana college or university among 16 North American teams selected to participate in EcoCAR, a three-year competition that demonstrates leading-edge advanced transportation technologies.

"EcoCAR is real-world engineering. This experience gives Rose-Hulman students the opportunity for hands-on learning and valuable skills preparing them for careers as the next generation of engineers to develop clean vehicle solutions," said Rose-Hulman Team Co-Faculty Advisor Zac Chambers, associate professor of mechanical engineering. The team’s other advisor is Marc Herniter, professor of electrical and computer engineering.

Hawaii Strives to Lead on Electric Vehicles

Hawaii officials are hoping to make the state a leader on the usage of electric vehicles. Nice. It will be great to see "Dog the Bounty Hunter" load perps up in a hybrid SUV.

Starting this month, state and county agencies buying new vehicles are required to give priority to electric vehicles, alternative-fuel vehicles and hybrids. And by the end of next year, government and private parking lots open to the public must have at least one space for electric vehicles and a vehicle charger for every 100 parking spaces.

To offset the costs of electric cars and special parking, the state plans to spend $4.25 million in federal stimulus money by an April 2012 deadline on chargers and grants.

Vehicles that run on electricity rather than gasoline emit less pollution and are expected to be cheaper per mile to operate. They’re under development by every major car maker, and certain models are scheduled to be available in limited quantities on the Mainland by year’s end.

However, it’s unclear when the vehicles will be available to Hawai’i residents, and how quickly they will adopt the cars, which need to be regulary charged with electricity. There are also questions about the durability, reliability and serviceability of this new breed of vehicles.