EcoCAR team receives advanced lithium ion battery for vehicle

A team of Penn State engineering students took delivery of prismatic lithium ion battery modules and control systems that they will use in their entry for a national hybrid vehicle contest.

The A123 battery system will be used in a Saturn Vue donated by General Motors (GM) that the team is modifying to be more fuel efficient and environmentally friendly. The equipment was donated by A123 Systems, a developer and manufacturer of the nanophosphate lithium ion batteries and systems.

Penn State is one of only 17 universities from the U.S. and Canada participating in EcoCAR: The NeXt Challenge, a contest sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy and GM.

Student teams are tasked with redesigning and re-engineering a GM-donated vehicle to further minimize fuel consumption and reduce emissions while maintaining the vehicle's performance and consumer appeal. The contest is designed to inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers.

The donation of the advanced lithium ion battery modules and control systems will give the engineers an opportunity to work with some of the newest technology available.

"At A123, we're happy to participate in the EcoCAR Challenge and support the next generation of innovators who will develop tomorrow's sustainable technologies," said Rob Mosher, A123's director of product marketing. "We believe that our advanced battery technology enables cleaner, more fuel efficient vehicles and we are pleased that our products will be one of the components helping the Penn State EcoCAR team make a greener vehicle."

As the student engineers embark on the second phase of the contest, they will incorporate plug-in technology powered by a 1.3-liter engine fueled by B20 biodiesel into their modified Saturn Vue. In the competition's first phase, the team designed a virtual model of their vehicle using advanced software and computer modeling tools.

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Last Updated December 08, 2009