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Date: May 21, 2008

UVic Team Clinches Spot In Elite 'Green' Car Design Competition

A team of University of Victoria mechanical engineering students is part of a select group of North American competitors who will spend the next three years designing and building a fuel-efficient, low-emission car of the future. The team, the first from Western Canada, is part of the EcoCAR competition, sponsored by General Motors and the US Department of Energy. Natural Resources Canada is also supporting the competition.

Only 16 teams are accepted for this continental challenge to advance car design using leading-edge automotive technologies that are also easy on the environment. Joining UVic from Canada are teams from the University of Waterloo and the University of Ontario Institute of Technology.

Each team receives $10,000 in seed money in the first year, and GM donates a vehicle and accompanying car components in the second year. The students’ institutions also provide funding support and academic recognition for participation in the competition.

The EcoCAR competition (www.ecocarchallenge.org) follows yesterday’s completion of its predecessor, the four-year Challenge X, which wrapped up yesterday in Washington, DC. In Challenge X, teams re-engineered a GM Equinox to minimize energy consumption, emissions and greenhouse gases while maintaining or exceeding the vehicle’s utility and performance.

“This (EcoCAR) is great news, especially since we only had a week to complete a proposal once we decided to enter,” says UVic team member Jeremy Wise, a third-year mechanical engineering student currently on a co-op work term with Natural Resources Canada in Ottawa. “We hope to involve all UVic engineering departments and get some UVic business students involved as well.”

Wise was in Washington for the EcoCAR announcement with Zuomin Dong, team faculty advisor and chair of the department of mechanical engineering. Mechanical engineering PhD student Leon Zhou and Jeff Wishart, a recent PhD mechanical engineering graduate, also helped prepare the proposal.

While considering all alternative propulsion technologies for the competition, the team hopes to use PHEV (Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle) and clean diesel engine technologies. The UVic entry will incorporate as many Canadian technologies and products as possible in their design.
Media contacts:
Jeremy Wise (Mechanical Engineering) at 613-943-8289/cell: 250-884-2179 or wise@uvic.ca
Patty Pitts (UVic Communications) at 250-721-7656 or ppitts@uvic.ca

UVic media releases and other resources for journalists are available on the World Wide Web at http://communications.uvic.ca/media

(image: fern)