Local News

NCSU engineering students competing to create eco-car

Posted June 28, 2013 5:13 p.m. EDT
Updated June 28, 2013 6:35 p.m. EDT

— 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.