The EcoCar sounds very green but what is it? The EcoCar program is a 3 year student engineering program sponsored by the Department of Energy, General Motor and of course Isograph (among a few others). The competition includes 15 North American Universities. Students take a Chevy Malibu and compete to improve environmental impacts without sacrificing safety, reliability, performance or accessibility to consumers.
Although the concept of giving a bunch of college kids a Malibu to take apart and rebuild seems bit risky. The project has been a very beneficial endeavor for both the students and the sponsors. Most of Isograph’s support went to the University of Ohio. http://ecocar2.osu.edu/ , according to their website, they decided to use a Parallel-Series Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) architecture. The architecture includes an E85 engine, two Parker-Hannifin electric machines, an A123 battery pack, an automated manual transmission and a charging system. Which allows the Malibu to drive 50 miles before the gas engine turns on! Pretty amazing considering these kids would meet once a week and work on the car one day during the weekends.
For several years Isograph has supported students on the EcoCar. and EcoCar 2 programs. EcoCar3 is taking applications so the competition should be back on shortly. The competition can be followed on the DOE website: http://www.ecocar2.org/