The Challenge X: Crossover to Sustainable Mobility engineering competition is on. And the University of California, Davis Hybrid Electric Vehicle Group (Team Fate) is calling on Lithium Technology Corporation (LTC) to help them out in re-engineering the Chevy Equinox to use lithium-ion cells. The contest, sponsored by General Motors (GM) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), is running over three years with the challenge to re-engineer a GM Equinox crossover sport utility vehicle to minimize energy consumption, emissions, and greenhouse gases while maintaining or exceeding the vehicle's utility and performance.

To achieve this, Team Fate has taken delivery of 95 lithium-ion (li-ion) cells from LTC which they will use to build the battery for their plug-in hybrid electric vehicle GM Equinox entry. The battery can be charged by either a generator driven by the internal combustion engine (ICE) or a standard AC household electrical socket and gives the PHEV over 40 miles range on the overnight electrical charge. City fuel economy has been improved by Team Fate over the original 19 mpg to 36.2 mpg, and highway fuel economy has risen from 25 mpg originally to 38.7 mpg.

Fuel economy isn't the only improvement though, performance has also increased seeing the competition vehicle accelerate from 0-60 mph in 7.4 seconds instead of 9.1 seconds in standard form. Team Fate bill their entry as the first tri-fueled plug-in hybrid which features hydrogen fuel cells and hydrogen injection. The li-ion cells are much smaller and half the weight of the old metal hydride batteries the group had been using.

The 2006 competition was taken out by Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

Analysis: Take something good and make it better. Great work Team Fate!

[Source: Lithium Technology Corporation]

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