Engineering Students Compete to Improve Fuel Economy and Emissions

MILFORD, MI June 10, 2005 -- � GM and the U.S. Department of Energy, lead sponsors for the Challenge X: Crossover to Sustainable Mobility engineering competition, congratulated students from the University of Waterloo, who took top honors today at the first-year competition.

The Waterloo team, located in Ontario, Canada, was among 17 universities from across North America that created a virtual advanced propulsion technology vehicle solution with the goal of improving on-road fuel economy and reducing emissions. The Waterloo team�s propulsion technology design is a series fuel cell hybrid that uses a Hydrogenics PEM fuel cell engine with a COBASYS 288-volt NiMH battery and a Ballard 54-kilowatt electric drive. The design will be engineered into a 2005 Chevrolet Equinox in years two and three of the Challenge X competition.

The second place advanced propulsion technology solution, designed by students at the University of Akron, is a through-the-road parallel hybrid with a 1.9-liter Volkswagen TDI engine that runs on biodiesel fuel and a Ballard 65-kilowatt/45-kilowatt drive motor. Ohio State University was awarded third place overall with their design for a through-the-road parallel biodiesel hybrid that uses a Panasonic NiMH battery and a 1.9-liter Fiat 110-kilowatt CIDI engine.

�Developing the advanced technologies that reduce U.S. dependence on imported oil is critical to the future prosperity of our country. Challenge X shows that the cooperation of industry, government and academia is an excellent approach to developing more energy-efficient and �greener� automotive technologies,� said Ed Wall, program manager for the FreedomCAR and Vehicle Technologies Office of the U.S. Department of Energy�s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.

Larry Burns, vice president of GM�s Research and Development and Planning, said the Challenge X teams are working on the same real-world challenge that GM engineers are marching toward on a daily basis.

�You are working on the same challenges that our GM engineers continually work on every day � high-efficiency, high performance vehicles that consume less fuel and produce fewer emissions from the well to the wheel,� said Burns. �This hands-on learning will provide you an unparalleled experience that will enable you to embark on a career in engineering with a competitive advantage.�

All 17 teams met the minimum Challenge X goals during the first year of the competition, and today each team received the keys to a 2005 Chevrolet Equinox.

The three-year program follows GM�s Global Vehicle Development Process. Year one focused on vehicle simulation and modeling and subsystem development and testing, introducing the students to the engineering trade-offs that occur in the early stages of vehicle design. In years two and three, students will integrate their advanced powertrains and subsystems into the Chevrolet Equinox, a compact SUV that already provides competitive fuel economy. Competitions are held at the end of the 2006 and 2007 academic years to showcase the teams� learning and vehicle development from year to year.

The additional teams participating in Challenge X include Michigan Technological University; Mississippi State University; Pennsylvania State University; Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology; San Diego State University; Texas Tech University; University of California, Davis; University of Michigan; University of Tennessee; University of Texas at Austin; University of Tulsa; University of Wisconsin-Madison; Virginia Tech; and West Virginia University.

DOE and GM are the headline sponsors for Challenge X. Other sponsors include Natural Resources Canada; The MathWorks; National Instruments; the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; the U.S. Department of Transportation; National Science Foundation; Visteon Corporation; Delphi Corporation; BP; Dana Corporation; Freescale Semiconductor; Cobasys; ChevronTexaco Technology Ventures; Johnson Controls, Inc.; Ballard Power Systems, Inc.; Michelin North America; AVL North America, Inc.; Sensors, Inc.; dSPACE, Inc.; IAV Automotive Engineering, Inc.; Opal-RT Technologies, Inc.; Compact Power, Inc.; Governors' Ethanol Coalition; Renewable Fuels Association; MotoTron Corporation; UGS; Ricardo; Gamma Technologies, Inc.; Igus, Inc.; Maxwell Technologies; Hydrogenics Corporation; OnStar and XM Satellite Radio.

Additional information about Challenge X is available on the Web at

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