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NCSU engineering students competing to create eco-car

Posted June 28, 2013

— Scott Blackwelder and other NC State University engineering students are competing in the EcoCar 2 challenge.

It's a contest sponsored by the federal government and General Motors.

For the past couple of years, students have been working on converting a car into a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle from scratch.

All of their work has resulted in a functioning battery-powered Chevrolet Malibu.

The team recently returned from Yuma, Ariz., where they demonstrated the car at the GM Proving Grounds. NC State's car was one of two using an electric motor.

Now the team must refine the design and get a biodiesel motor in the car to extend the range. The range right now is about 35 miles, but it should be 60 miles once it’s optimized.

The designers and builders would love to win the competition. But they're already gaining real-world experience in automotive design and feeling good about their work.

“To be part of something that's attempting to change the way people think about cars and transportation, it's exciting,” Blackwelder said.

NC State is competing against 14 other universities in the EcoCar 2 challenge. The finals will happen in Washington, D.C., next May.


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  • ezLikeSundayMorning Jul 1, 2013

    It's called education. These students will go on to be innovative engineers that will contribute to society. Right now they are investing tuition in themselves and we are investing in their education as well. As a side benefit they could make a break through in converting regular cars to electric. This is nothing but good.

  • whatelseisnew Jun 28, 2013

    Sponsored by the dollars of the taxpayer, not by the Federal government. The really sick part it, GM had an electric car that was well loved by the people that owned them. Why not dust off the plans for those vehicles and put them back in production? A vehicle that goes 35 miles and now will be optimized to 60 is worthless. If they are going to do this, go for a minimum of 300 miles. Plus go for a target price of 20 to 25K. A vehicle like that would be a best seller and highly profitable to the company that builds it. So if GM can afford this nonsense, why are we taking a 10 billion dollar loss on that stock that we as taxpayers were forced to buy against our will.