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Here at EcoCAR we are challenged to develop practices to measure emissions and fuel economy and now it’s happening at a national level. It was just announced that mechanical engineers at Agronne National Laboratory received approval of SAE J1711, a revised recommended practice for figuring out the fuel economy and exhaust emissions test procedures of hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs). The approval is a major accomplishment that will encourage and support the nation’s move to electrified vehicles for petroleum savings. The new revisions are also the basis for the way that we measure fuel consumption in EcoCAR.

Mike Duoba, a principal mechanical engineer for Argonne, has led the SAE International (Society of Automotive Engineers) task force in the effort to revise the test procedures to better evaluate PHEV technologies.  

Mike Duoba tests a car at Argonne's Advanced Powertrain Research Facility

Even more exciting, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is expected to issue a new regulation later this year that will define PHEV fuel economy reporting protocol and much of the new EPA regulation is likely to be based on SAE J1711. Now that SAE J1711 has been approved, Duoba and his colleagues are focused on supporting the development of testing standards for all-electric vehicles, known as SAE J1634.

Pretty cool! What do you think?  We’d love to hear your thoughts on the challenges and benefits of having these standards in place.

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The University of Wisconsin (UW) Hybrid Vehicle Team collaborated with the Milwaukee Chapter of The Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) for two events in the last month to promote diversity in the engineering field.

SHPE was founded in Los Angeles, California, in 1974 by a group of engineers employed by the city of Los Angeles. Their objective was to form a national organization of professional engineers to serve as role models in the Hispanic community.The concept of networking was the key basis for the organization. SHPE quickly established two student chapters to begin the network that would grow to encompass the nation as well as reach countries outside the United States. Today, SHPE enjoys a strong but independent network of professional and student chapters throughout the nation.

The first event that the team participated in was a Saturday Enrichment series for Hispanic middle school students to introduce them to different areas of engineering. The day began in the classroom to introduce hybrid technology and the different types of engineering. Many of the students knew a lot about the environment and the importance of hybrid vehicles and were already well on their way to becoming an engineer!

The UW team then took the group on a shop tour. The students got a first hand look at the EcoCAR and were very impressed by the size of the new battery that had just arrived!

Checking out the UW EcoCAR!

The following week, a group of 30 Hispanic high school students from Milwaukee made the trip to the UW campus for a fun-filled day of engineering. The students were very enthusiastic and asked a lot of questions about the university and hybrid technology. The majority of the students were high school juniors, so their engineering futures are directly ahead of them.

The UW Hybrid Team in collaboration with SHPE is happy to be providing engineering opportunities to Hispanic students of all ages, exposing them to role models and aspirations and creating future engineers in the process!

The Virginia Tech EcoCAR team recently completed the first step in a multiphase integration process to create its hybrid vehicle design.  The HEVT team successfully installed its 2.4 L FlexFuel (85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline) engine.  The team also installed a transmission into the vehicle that will allow for a quick launch after the engine has been off. 

“HEVT is off to a good start, but the team has several big projects to tackle in the next six months before heading to competition,” said Patrick Walsh, a graduate research assistant from Richmond, VA.

In the next few weeks, the team will be building its battery pack with modules and controllers donated by A123Systems, installing its rear electric motor with a custom subframe built by TriFab, and installing its Hybrid Vehicle Supervisory Controller provided by National Instruments.  Check back to the blog for a video of Virginia Tech’s completed vehicle, but for now here’s a teaser off what it takes to do a engine swap!

Carl Leung, UWAFT team member, talks with 2009 Canadian International Auto Show attendees

Calvin Leung, UWAFT team member, talks with 2009 Canadian International Auto Show attendees

The National Hydrogen Association (NHA) recently concluded that hydrogen-based vehicle technology is an economic and environmentally-friendly long term solution to decreasing greenhouse gas emissions and reducing our dependence on fossil fuels in its report titled, Energy Evolution: An Analysis of Alternative Vehicles and Fuels to 2100. The report discusses the importance of continual research and development of hydrogen technology for a zero-emission future*. The University of Waterloo Alternative Fuels Team (UWAFT) is dedicated to the realization of such a future by developing a fuel cell plug-in hybrid electric vehicle.

UWAFT also recognizes the importance of educating the public on green technology with the hope that they make informed and educated decision. One particular highlight of our outreach efforts is our participation in 2009 Canadian International Auto Show, which attracted over 250,000 attendees.
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EcoEagles members Vincent Sabatini and Kamau Kelly talk to event attendees

EcoEagles members Vincent Sabatini and Kamau Kelly talk to event attendees

On April 19, 2009, students from the Embry-Riddle EcoCAR team, the EcoEagles, made an impressive display at the Daytona Kennel Club’s 2009 Earth Day event.

The event featured many local vendors of “green” technology for home and businesses, including solar panels, low-electricity LED lighting and non-toxic chemicals for industrial cleaning. Local car dealerships displayed hybrid vehicles and answered questions about vehicle performance and environmental impact.

The EcoEagles team was a headline presenter at the event, which focused heavily on environmental education for the greater Daytona Beach community. Team members were on hand to talk about environmental issues, hybrid vehicle technology, ways for everybody to be more “green” and, of course, about what the team is doing, both for the competition and in the community in general.
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