Preparing for a greener future

Purdue will be one of 16 universities who will have a team in the three-year EcoCAR 2 competition, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy and General Motors. The competition challenges the teams to convert a Chevrolet Malibu into a hybrid/electric or fuel-cell vehicle to reduce its environmental impact without compromising performance, safety and consumer acceptability. Vahid Motevalli, department head and professor of mechanical engineering technology (MET), will be the lead faculty advisor for the Purdue team. Two other Technology professors are also advisors, along with two from the College of Engineering. “This is a fantastic opportunity for our students to work in multi-disciplinary teams to address real-world and complex problems associated with system integration, combining engines, electric motors, energy storage and other automotive components into a vehicle that meets all the performance parameters consumers expect,” Motevalli said. During 2011-12, the team, led by MET student Haley Moore (pictured at right), will present a simulation model of their vehicle configuration. In 2012-13, each team will be provided with their vehicle to work on converting, testing, integrating and optimizing their designs. Competitions in the second two years will focus on the vehicles and how well they achieve the goals of the competition.