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This week, NPR ran a story about Paris’ plan to launch an electric vehicle-sharing system across the city. The initiative is scheduled to roll out in September of next year and will be considered the world’s largest electric car access program. Paris already has a successful bike rental system, known as Velib, so the city is hoping that the car sharing system, Autolib, will be a big hit.

What do you think of Paris’ Autolib plan? Do you think it will take off? Would you participate in a similar program if it was in the U.S.?

Here in the U.S., we are already making great progress in the electric vehicle arena with a strong focus on electric charging stations. Autoblog Green just reported that by October 2011, the ChargePoint America program is expected to complete the  installation of 4,600 free public and home charging stations funded by a $15-million grant from the government. The chargers will allover the country including Austin, TX, Detroit, Los Angeles, New York, Orlando, FL, Sacramento, CA, San Francisco, Redmond, WA, and Washington D.C.

Are the chargers heading your way? Be on the look-out for the latest in electric vehicle innovation! We’re excited!

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After the Year Two EcoCAR competition, the OSU team took some time to recover while the vehicle and supplies were being shipped home. Now that the OSU team is well rested, they are gearing up for Year Three and anxious to prove that their design and vehicle are worthy of the 5th place honors received at the Year Two EcoCAR Challenge Competition.

The team kicked off the summer by improving the EcoCAR’s power output and getting the front powertrain working. A major focus was trying new calibrations for boosting the power and current from the primary electric drive. This yielded immediate satisfaction with better performance. Now with a better performing vehicle and the completed systems from competition, the team showed off the EcoCAR to teammates and university officials that had not seen it since before competition. The OSU team’s next priority was to take on the much anticipated troubleshooting of the front powertrain. During competition, the front powertrain was not working and left the team with a short range electric vehicle, which was certainly not part of the plan. However, the troubleshooting is now moving in the right direction. The team only spent a few hours working on the electric machine and wiring issues before the system was fully up and running.

Under the hood of the OSU EcoCAR!

Now that the OSU team has the system running as planned, the summer has been devoted to various controls efforts and lots of testing and tuning. The team hopes to gain a big advantage in Year Three and is looking forward to seeing their own progress compared to the other teams!

With seven E85, six B20 biodiesel, two H2 fuel cell, and one full-electric vehicle at the Year Two Finals, the contest was fierce as each team showcased their unique vehicle architecture and competed for the first place trophy.

In the end, Mississippi State University took top honors with their plug-in series hybrid. The team won more than 15 awards during the Year Two Competition Finals, including 1st place in Energy Storage Design, 1st place in Outreach, 1st place in every Emissions and Energy Consumption event, and had the Best Controls, Mechanical, and Vehicle Design Review presentations.

In Year Two, the Mississippi team integrated a variety of components into their vehicle to decrease emissions and maintain consumer acceptability. The team’s plug-in range-extended hybrid included a well designed, translucent energy storage system cover with an inventive liquid cooling system. They had an innovative high-voltage wire routing, urea injection system, and maintained stock cargo space. They even bettered the baseline vehicle by more than two seconds in the Autocross Event.

MSU's EcoCAR on the road!

MSU also won every dynamic event in the Emission and Energy Consumption category. For the first time in Advanced Vehicle Technology Competition history, the Mississippi team received the highest fuel consumption score. The team utilized more than 90 percent of their 21 kWh battery pack and finished both the 22 mile and 44 mile schedule without using any biodiesel. The team was also able to significantly reduce their petroleum use by charge depleting for 60 miles and bettered the baseline vehicle’s greenhouse gas score by more than 30 percent in the Well-to-Wheel Greenhouse Gases event. In the end, Mississippi State achieved Tier 2, Bin 7 emissions over the EcoCAR drive schedule and averaged less than 2 Lge/100km in fuel consumption.

Taking home second place at the Year Two Finals, Virginia Tech won a combined eight trophies including Best Electrical Presentation and Best Braking, and was the runner up in Best Petroleum Energy Usage and Best Tailpipe Emissions. The team’s E85 engine with a 15 kilowatt belted alternator and 80 kilowatt rear traction drive successfully completed every dynamic event.  Virginia Tech’s vehicle stopped within mere seconds during the Braking event and won Best Static Consumer Acceptability with a clean engine compartment, five passenger seating, and a fully functional touch screen.

The Virginia Tech EcoCAR during emissions testing

Penn State University placed third overall with a 1.3L, B20 biodiesel series hybrid. At the Year Two Finals, the team took home eight awards, including Best AVL Drive Quality, Best Social Media, 2nd in A123 Battery Design, 3rd in Outreach, and was the runner up in Best Fuel Consumption and Best Tailpipe Emissions. The team’s fuel consumption averaged around 4.1 Lge/100 km and the EcoCAR displayed impressive acceleration linearity and quick throttle response during the Drive Quality dynamic tests. In addition, the team was able to host more than 50 outreach events and increase media relations by more than 400 percent in the outreach program.

The PSU team working under hood

Although Mississippi State, Virginia Tech and Penn State were the top three teams in Year Two, there was a variety of other awards given out during Finals. You can find the complete list of winners, here.

With only one year left, the EcoCAR competition will get fierce as all 16 EcoCAR teams fight for the number one spot in Year Three. Who will it be? Check back to the Inside the Green Garage blog throughout Year Three for team and competition updates!

It’s hard to miss Nick or Louis Rosa when they drive down the street. Their bright red electric car gets a lot of attention.

“It’s a conversation starter,” said Louis, who recently graduated from Georgetown University.

The Rosa brothers' car is hard to miss!

Younger brother Nick is a senior at the California Institute of Technology. When gas prices rose last summer, the brothers decided to challenge themselves.

We were talking about electric cars and thought ‘maybe we can do this ourselves’, ” Nick said, noting that other electric cars being sold, such as the Tesla Roadster and Fisker Karma, cost around $100,000.

With the car kit and components, the brothers found that the car would only cost $18,000.

Last month, Louis and Nick visited the Mississippi State campus. A few EocCAR team members attended a luncheon with the brothers and invited them to the Center for Advanced Vehicular Systems to show them the team’s work and talk about their struggles and successes.

“It’s great that people in our community are getting involved with green technologies, even if they don’t have a background in engineering,” said Ryan Williams, senior EcoCAR mechanical group leader.

Overall, it was a nice surprise and gave the team inspiration going into competition!

Louis Rosa posing with the electric vehicle

Last week, Virginia Tech’s Hybrid Electric Vehicle Team (HEVT) sent a correspondent to the 2010 Washington D.C. International Auto Show which was in conjunction with the annual Electric Drive Transportation Association (EDTA) conference. Legislators, manufacturers, suppliers and the general public attended the show to see the latest, greatest and greenest technology in the automotive business. Electric vehicle charging stations, plug-in hybrids, clean diesels and all-electrics were among the technologies being showcased.

Patrick Walsh with the HEVT EcoCAR poster at the auto show

At the show, HEVT’s team leader, Patrick Walsh, presented a poster on the team’s EcoCAR research and educated the public about its GM-donated, student-designed plug-in hybrid.

“People were very impressed that such an important competition was taking place at the academic level,” said Patrick, who is a mechanical engineering graduate student at Virginia Tech. “Green technology is a big focus in the auto industry, so EcoCAR’s mission to reduce the environmental impact of vehicles ties in perfectly.”

In between poster presentations and plenary sessions, HEVT’s correspondent was able to take a look at a production-intent Chevrolet Volt. The Volt and other cool vehicles at the auto show served as added motivation for HEVT to build a winner for competition in Yuma!

The Volt!

MSU held its first annual Auto Show last month on campus. Local residents rolled in with classic hot rods and state-of-the-art sports cars to show off – attracting a big crowd! MSU’s GM-donated vehicle was on display at the event and team members were on hand to answer questions about the competition.

People were surprised to hear that the MSU EcoCAR can drive forty miles on the battery alone and can get one hundred miles per gallon factoring in the diesel fuel. Others were concerned about how the car charged and asked if they had to drive to a special station. They were glad to hear that the car could plug into a standard outlet and charge overnight.  

What is your take on extended range electric vehicles? Are you a fan of the plug-in capability? We’d love to hear your thoughts!


Gasoline and diesel powered vehicles come with a choice of engines, giving drivers the opportunity to pick a model based on driving needs. Electric cars, on the other hand, never came with options – until now. 

A recent TreeHugger post reports that Tesla is offering battery options for its upcoming Model S electric sedan and Nissan might offer different battery options with its LEAF electric car. Exciting news!

The 2010 Nissan Leaf

A senior Nissan planner told TheDetroitBureau.com that offering an array of different battery packs “would allow a motorist to choose between a lower-range, lower-cost pack, or batteries delivering perhaps twice the mileage, at a higher price.”

Say goodbye to the “one-size-fits-all” electric vehicle!

Think this news is interesting, check out the unique architectures the 17 EcoCAR teams are working on right now at www.ecocarchallenge.org.

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The EcoCAR Challenge Year One Finals continue from Toronto, Canada. 17 teams are locked in heated competition, but you’ll see in this video that there’s also a fun side to aspiring engineers. Keep your eyes open for excessive energy drink consumption, team members hearing voices and pugilistic engineers. Also note the awards given out to The Ohio State and Embry-Riddle.

Welcome behind the scenes of the EcoCAR Challenge Year One Finals. Enjoy the sites and sounds from DAY THREE.

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The EcoCAR Challenge Year One Finals are underway in Toronto, Canada. 17 teams are on the ground having the experience of a lifetime. We have eyes on the ground in Toronto, and we’ll be posting videos from each day of the competition so family, friends and all EcoCAR Challenge fans can experience the event.

Welcome behind the scenes of the EcoCAR Challenge Year One Finals. Enjoy the sites and sounds from DAY TWO.

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The EcoCAR Challenge Year One Finals are underway in Toronto, Canada. 17 teams are on the ground having the experience of a lifetime. We have eyes on the ground in Toronto, and we’ll be posting videos from each day of the competition so family, friends and all EcoCAR Challenge fans can experience the event.

Welcome behind the scenes of the EcoCAR Challenge Year One Finals. Enjoy the sites and sounds from DAY ONE.

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