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Ohio State hybrid vehicle places 4th in national contest

Columbus ? Ohio State's ChallengeX hybrid vehicle student team today made an impressive showing with a fourth-place finish nationally in the 2006 ChallengeX competition in Mesa, Arizona.

ChallengeX is a three-year competition sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy, General Motors Corporations, and several organizations and companies from the U.S. and Canada. The competition is limited to vehicle teams at 17 American and Canadian universities, all of whom have now completed their second year in the race to convert a gasoline-based 2005 Chevrolet Equinox SUV into a hybrid vehicle maximizing fuel economy and emissions ratings and maintaining stock performance.

The Ohio State ChallengeX vehicle team placed first in the MathWorks computer software "crossover to model-based design" and trailer tow categories, second place in the technical report and best realization of vehicle technical specifications categories, and third place in the outreach category.

The Ohio State team's vehicle design involves replacing the stock engine and transmission with a Fiat 1.9 liter turbodiesel and an automatic 6-speed transmission. Coupled to the engine is an integrated starter/alternator, the KollMorgan IMA. The rear axle is powered by a large electric drive, and for battery power, the vehicle uses 1.5 packs from the Toyota Prius hybrid.

Ohio State finished in fourth place overall with 770 points out of 1000. In third place was Mississippi State with 850 points, second place was University of Wisconsin with 888 points and first place was awarded to Virginia Tech with 901 points.

In this second year of the three year ChallengeX competition, the goal is for the teams to deliver a working vehicle, according to John Neal, a member of the Ohio State team, majoring in electrical and computer engineering.

“In the third year, we have to deliver a vehicle that looks like something you would buy from a showroom,” Neal said. “Our car is a charged sustaining hybrid?you don't have to plug it into the wall at night.”

More information about the Ohio State ChallengeX vehicle is at http://www.osuchallengex.com/ The official ChallengeX website is http://www.challengex.org/