On the way to greener cars... Students at Kansas aim @500 mpge

The Automotive X prize is for chumps - Kansas students aiming for 500 mpge



We've told you about the University of Kansas EcoHawks before. They're a group of engineering students from KU who are trying to build a car that will get 500 miles per gallon-equivalent. One of their ongoing projects is a 1974 Volkswagen
Beetle that they've converted to be a series hybrid running on
lead-acid batteries. Until recently, the car was charged by a
biodiesel-powered generator, the biodiesel being made from waste
vegetable oil (WVO) sourced from campus. Now, the mechanical
engineering students have announced that their Bug's batteries are
being charged by a solar charger.

The Bug is cool, but the real advancements are likely to come from the
EcoHawks 1/8th scale, radio-controlled prototype vehicles. Six teams
(one with the surprisingly un-nerdy name of "Team Slayer") are
developing their own tiny RC vehicles. Dr. Chris Depcik, the student's
faculty advisor, thinks that the RC cars are a great way for the
students to experiment with radical design ideas:
The RC cars will allow students to test the limits of advanced battery and even superconductor technology to find out what is possible. They can explore all different types of fabrication materials
and techniques while also giving them the freedom to design any style
of vehicle they feel appropriate. This work will lead into a thorough
understanding of the theory behind advanced vehicles that will be
applied to a future effort of building a vehicle from scratch where we
can optimize for miles per gallon.
There are some great pictures and videos of some hybrid RC cars kicking ass on a campus parking lot as well as some shots of the
solar-charged bug on the EcoHawks website.
Whether or not they ever hit 500 mpge is irrelevant. The fact that the
University of Kansas is putting out more and green-minded engineers
makes us wanna yell "Rock Chalk Jayhawk!"

[Source: KU Ecohawks]

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Tags: Automotive, Biodiesel, Prize, Solar, X, engineering, mechanical, volkwagen

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