21st Century Automotive Challenge to be held this weekend at University Park

April 27, 2017

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Thomas D. Larson Pennsylvania Transportation Institute (LTI) will partner with the Penn State Sustainability Institute this weekend to host the 11th annual 21st Century Automotive Challenge. Open to the public from 9 a.m. to noon, Saturday, April 29, at the MorningStar Solar Home at University Park, the challenge will showcase a variety of alternative energy vehicles, set against a backdrop of Penn State’s 100-percent renewable energy-powered home.

Participants, including colleges and universities, high schools, hobbyists and entrepreneurs, will compete against each other in an array of segments including electric, gasoline-hybrid electric, pluggable-hybrid electric, biodiesel and natural gas bi-fuel. Events will include Highway Range, Tech Inspection, Public Display, Cargo, Tailgating and Autocross.

“We have been hosting this challenge for more than a decade,” said Joel Anstrom, director of the 21st Century Automotive Challenge and director of the Hybrid and Hydrogen Vehicle Research Laboratory (HHVRL) at the Larson Institute. “And, each year, we are equally excited to see the advancements in alternative technologies on display.”

By hosting the challenge at the MorningStar Solar Home, the Larson Institute is able to demonstrate how alternative-fuel vehicles may function together with a sustainable home. The home, equipped with solar, wind and geothermal energy systems is a net-zero home, meaning it produces as much energy as it consumes — even enough extra energy to power electric vehicles, which can be charged in the home’s solar-powered car port.

“One of the elements of this event is to give attendees a chance to see alternative energy vehicles in action,” added David Riley, associate professor of architectural engineering. “The MorningStar Solar Home allows us to easily integrate vehicle-to-building and vehicle-to-grid technology into the competition format. And, we get to show off our award-winning sustainable home at the same time.”

Participants include teams from the former American Tour de Sol Electric Vehicle Championship and the Eastern Electric Vehicle Club (EEVC). This year’s judges included Penn State engineering alumni and representatives from Penn State’s Department of Energy Graduate Automotive Technology Education (GATE) Program, Central Pennsylvania Institute of Technology and the local racing community.

Competing vehicles on hand will include:

  •  Citroen Deux Chevaux EV - Methacton High School
  •  Biodiesel bread truck science display - Methacton High School
  •  Chevrolet Fiero EV - Pennsylvania College of Technology Team
  •  Toyota Prius - James Natale, EEVC Member
  •  Chevrolet S10 truck EV - Alan Arrison, EEVC Member
  •  Zero S electric motorcycle - Ken Barbour, EEVC Member
  •  Nissan Leaf EV – Oliver Perry, EEVC President

Research and personal vehicles on static display will include:

  •  Brammo Empulse electric motorcycle – Penn State Sustainability Institute
  •  BMW electric motorcycle conversion – Penn State e-Sportbike Team
  •  Subaru CNG bi-fuel project - Penn State Hybrid and Hydrogen Vehicle Research Lab
  •  Chevy Malibu ethanol HEV - Penn State EcoCAR Team
  •  BMW i3 – Professor Christopher Rahn, Penn State BEST Center
  •  Chevrolet Volt - Sustainability Institute
  •  GM EV1 – Penn State Hybrid and Hydrogen Vehicle Research Laboratory

The Thomas D. Larson Pennsylvania Transportation Institute is Penn State’s transportation research center, a major, multidisciplinary unit within the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Since its inception in 1968, the Larson Institute has maintained a threefold mission of research, education and service. The Larson Institute is the locus for transportation-related research conducted by Penn State faculty from more than 14 colleges and research centers, with areas of specialization ranging from civil, computer, electrical, architectural, industrial and mechanical engineering to agriculture, information sciences and technology, supply chain management, economics, geography, psychology and statistics. The Institute provides a unique focal point of collaboration for expert faculty and enterprising students from across the University together with public and private stakeholders to address critical transportation-related needs of the individual user and the world at large.

Last Updated May 03, 2017