Thursday, May 29, 2008

Mississippi State's hybrid biodiesel Equinox wins Challenge X

The 2008 Challenge X is over and a hybrid clean diesel version of the Chevrolet Equinox (running on B20) has driven away with the top prize. Mississippi State University is the team behind the winning vehicle, and beat out 16 other student teams from across North America. As we learned when we rode in Michigan Technological University's hybrid Equinox last month, Challenge X is a multi-year challenge to modify an Equinox to get more miles per gallon while not giving up any comfort or performance. Teams tried all sorts of alternative power options to make the SUVs cleaner, and the MSU team designed a through-the-road parallel hybrid electric system paired with a turbocharged direct-injection diesel engine (filled with biodiesel) to get a 38 percent efficiency gain and the win, Science Daily reports. The University of Wisconsin – Madison and Ohio State University came in second and third place, respectively, with similar powertrains. The Diesel Technology Forum was happy to read about the diesels' standings in the final result and issued a press release praising the winners. Read it after the jump.

What's next? This fall, the Department of Energy (DOE), GM and Natural Resources Canada will open up EcoCAR: The NeXt Challenge. Once again, 17 teams will take part but the vehicles due for eco-updates will be Saturn VUEs.