Hybrid vehicle team captures several first-place awards; finishes 6th

May 21, 2008

University Park, Pa. – The list of categories where Penn State came out on top in the culminating year of Challenge X: Crossover to Sustainable Mobility, is impressive. The team scored top marks in several events, including first place in fabrication and workmanship, first in control and technical presentations, fastest autocross, best vehicle appearance and best education and outreach program. So while the team’s sixth place overall finish was disappointing, “unexpected things happen in competition,” said team leader Tim Cleary. Emissions system performance and fuel economy weighed heavily in the scoring, and the vehicle’s emissions system wasn’t performing properly at the time it was sampled for scoring.
The fabrication and workmanship award was significant, said Cleary. “We designed and built the drive train, and did a good job on all of the components.” Many of the teams had purchased and installed kits that had been pre-engineered by professionals. “We learned a lot more this way,” said Cleary, by designing the electric motor, mechanical drive and motor-controller system and making them work together. The Penn State team also designed the battery pack, including the individual cell packaging and battery management system. The outreach and appearance awards came with $500 each, which will be reinvested into the Penn State hybrid vehicle program.
Team faculty adviser Gary Neal won the Rookie Faculty Adviser of the Year Award, which brings a gift of $15,000 to the University’s hybrid vehicle program. The program is based at the Hybrid and Hydrogen Vehicle Research Laboratory of the Thomas D. Larson Pennsylvania Transportation Institute. Team members at the competition included Cleary, Neal, Nathan Simmons, Eric Richardson, Casey McHenry, Jason Lin, Tom Sutherland, Andrew Guaraldo and Mike Jobe.
Non-scoring events did not contribute to the overall results. Several events such as outreach activities, the production of a commercial video, and best vehicle appearance did not receive a numerical score. The team's commercial video received third place honors.
For the final road rally event, the 17 participating university teams drove their vehicles from Raceway Park at Englishtown, New Jersey, to Newark, Delaware on Friday, then on to Baltimore on Saturday, and to Washington, D.C. Sunday, where they were met by a number of legislators and provided ride-and-drive opportunities. Individual event awards were announced Monday and Tuesday, and final overall scores were revealed Wednesday at the U.S. Department of Energy headquarters in Washington, D.C.
First place in the 2008 competition went to Mississippi State University, second to University of Wisconsin-Madison, and third to Ohio State. The Mississippi State team designed a through-the-road parallel hybrid electric vehicle with all-wheel drive using a 1.9-L turbocharged direct-injection diesel engine. Wisconsin’s vehicle was a through-the-road parallel hybrid electric vehicle with a 1.9L diesel engine. Ohio State entered a power-split hybrid electric vehicle with a diesel engine. All three were fueled by B20 biodiesel. Fourth place went to University of Waterloo, whose hydrogen fuel cell vehicle had a clear advantage of zero emissions. Fifth place went to University of Tulsa, which had a 1.9-L turbocharged direct-injection diesel engine fueled by B20 biodiesel and hydrogen. The Penn State vehicle had a 1.3-L turbo diesel engine fueled by B20 biodiesel and hydrogen.

The competition organizers are based at Argonne National Laboratory, with major support from lead corporate sponsor, GM, and several competition-level sponsors. 

  • Team leader Tim Cleary is in the driver's seat of the Penn State vehicle.

    IMAGE: Roy Feldman

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated November 18, 2010