Seventeen teams of engineering students from all over North America descended on the GM Proving Ground in Milford, MI this week to participate in the Challenge-X competition. This is the third year of a four year cycle in the competition sponsored by General Motors and the Department of Energy. The teams are following the GM Global Vehicle Development Process and and are being judged at the end of each year. The goal is to integrate sustainable mobility technologies into a Chevy Equinox crossover.
The first year focused on using mathematical simulation and computer modeling to develop the vehicle design and subsystem control strategies. In the second year the teams had to turn their digital and paper designs into running prototypes. General Motors provided each team with an Equinox, seed money, technical assistance and mentoring to help make their initial concepts a reality. Other companies such as AVL Powertrain Engineering, Cobasys, Michelin and many more also provided assistance and supplies.
Read some more about the technologies being used after the jump.
[Source: General Motors]
In year three of the event the teams have focused on refining and developing their powertrain designs trying to bring them up to the status of a pre-production prototype. All the vehicles will go through technical and safety inspection to ensure that are safe to drive before they can compete in the rest of the event. They are getting judged not only on performance and efficiency, but on all the other factors that a production intent vehicle would be evaluated on. The judges will look at things like NVH,drive quality and utility.
The powertrains that have been implemented are all hybrids but there the similarity ends. There are a wide variety of configurations including both series and parallel, with internal combustion, fuel cell and hydraulic assist. The vehicles use reformulated gasoline, ethanol, biodiesel, and hydrogen fuels including mixes of those. Transmissions include manuals, automatics, CVTs and even a DSG gearbox. Electrical storage systems include ultra capacitors, nickel-metal hydride, and lithium ion batteries. The UC-Davis entry even has plug-in capability. The year three winners will be announced next week and we'll bring you some more detailed coverage in the coming days.