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"That way you can actually maintain a vehicle, with the resources that we have here, that's why we chose ethanol as our fuel because it's a renewable fuel," he explains.
It's part of a three year competition sponsored by General Motors, the design earned sixth place out of 17 universities who submitted their ideas for re-engineering a 2005 Chevrolet Equinox. A test engine was created to simulate what the team will replace the original engine with, it was an idea that was first designed using computer software.
"Actually what you see simulated on computer you can see one year later driving on the road so it's pretty exciting," says Mario.
It is a concept the students say could someday become a reality.
"Sometimes these companies take ideas from our competition and use them for future vehicles," he says.
Once the vehicle is complete, students will enter the second phase of competition next summer.