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Advanced Vehicle Team Aims to Save You Gas Money

EcoCarYesterday morning, behind Research Building B, the Penn State Advanced Vehicle Team unveiled their new Saturn Vue Hybrid that they will be modifying in an attempt to boost fuel economy. The team plans to rip out the existing parallel hybrid system (system uses one of two engines, depending upon driving conditions, think Toyota Prius) and replace it with a diesel-electric series hybrid system (car runs on fully electric until battery power runs out, then powers the electric motor using a diesel engine to recharge the batteries).

The Advanced Vehicle Team is competing in a competition sponsored by the Department of Energy and General Motors. According to,

The competition challenges 17 universities across North America to reduce the environmental impact of vehicles by minimizing the vehicle’s fuel consumption and reducing its emissions while retaining the vehicle’s performance, safety and consumer appeal. Students use a real-world engineering process to design and integrate their advanced technology solutions into a 2009 Saturn Vue.

The Advanced Vehicle Team currently sits in 7th place following the first phase of the competition, which focuses on planning and design. The second phase of the competition focuses on actually fabricating and testing the vehicle, while the final phase is the presentation and judging of the vehicle. Co-team leader Dave Fecek (Graduate Student) says that the competition is “fun and nerve-wracking at the same time,” while adviser Joel Anstrom (Director of the Hybrid and Hydrogen Vehicle Research Laboratory) says that it “provides a hands on educational opportunity for students.”

For more information about the Penn State Advanced Vehicle Team and the EcoCar Challenge, visit their website.

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About the Author

Chase Tralka

Chase Tralka is a Senior majoring in Information Sciences and Technology with a minor in Security and Risk Analysis. He is from Northern New Jersey and is involved in far too many organizations to list here. He enjoys photography, cycling, and listening to obscure free jazz music.

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