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MotorWeek Video Transcript: Challenge X: Sustainable Mobility

Jessica Shea Choksey:No matter how the current congressional struggle over future national energy policy turns out, one thing is clear. Future vehicles, both cars, and the trucks and SUVs Americans love, will have to deliver much better fuel economy.

That’s the heart of Challenge X “Crossover for Sustainable Mobility,” which has recently concluded its third year of competition.

Leading the pack of sponsors for the challenge are General Motors and the U.S. Department Of Energy.  For 3 years they have supported 17 university teams from the US and Canada as they engaged in real world engineering development based on GM’s Global Vehicle Design Process.

The unique engineering contest strives to increase energy efficiency and reduce environmental impact by developing advanced propulsion technology.

In the first year Challenge X teams focused on vehicle simulation and modeling, sub-system development and testing.

By year two, students installed their power train designs into a Chevrolet Equinox crossover utility vehicle.  And in this, the third stage of the competition, the teams refined their concepts to fit the demands of real world driving.

The team to take top honors in the Challenge this year was from Mississippi State. These students designed a through-the-road parallel hybrid electric vehicle with a 1.9 liter GM direct injection turbo diesel engine fueled by B20 biodiesel.  It achieved a 48 percent increase in fuel economy over the production Equinox during the Challenge X On-Road Energy Use event.

Christopher Whitt, Team Leader, Mississippi State:The best benefit of Challenge X is the experience we gain not only from the design and engineering, but then also coming here and being able to test and see how they actually test vehicles.

Choksey:During the next and final year of Challenge X, students will focus on customer acceptance, as well as the reliability and durability of their systems in real-world testing.  We’ll keep you posted on the results.  And that’s it for this week’s MotorNews.