TTU Students Design Energy Efficient Vehicle - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

6/19/05

TTU Students Design Energy Efficient Vehicle

Gas prices climbed for the second straight week in Texas after five straight weeks of declines. It's the high prices at the gas pump that is increasing the need for more fuel efficient cars.

Now, a team of Texas Tech Engineering students are designing an energy efficient vehicle that could help determine what is to come for the automotive industry.

Becoming more energy efficient, that is what the group of students are working on, creating a vehicle that is better for our environment.

"We're going to transform it into a hybrid vehicle, in order to increase the fuel economy and reduce the emissions," explains team leader Mario Mendez.

Instead of running on gasoline, the team has created an engine that is powered by electricity and ethanol, or alcohol.

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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.

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