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Mississippi State University Students Win GM and DOE Challenge X 2007 Competition

General Motors (GM) and the US Department of Energy (DOE), lead sponsors for the Challenge X: Crossover to Sustainable Mobility engineering competition, congratulated students from Mississippi State University, who took top honors today at the third annual competition.

The Mississippi State team was among 17 universities from across North America that have re-engineered a 2005 Chevrolet Equinox crossover SUV using advanced propulsion technologies that increase fuel efficiency and reduce environmental impact, yet retain its consumer appeal.

The Mississippi State team designed a through-the-road parallel hybrid electric vehicle with a 1.9-liter GM direct injection turbo diesel engine fueled by B20 biodiesel. It achieved a 48% increase in fuel economy over the production vehicle.

The second place vehicle, engineered by students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, is also a through-the-road parallel biodiesel electric hybrid design with a 1.9-liter GM diesel turbocharged engine that runs on B20. Virginia Tech was awarded third place overall with a split parallel hybrid architecture that runs on E85 ethanol with a 2.3-liter turbo spark ignition engine.

"Developing more energy-efficient and 'greener' automotive technologies has become a global priority," said John F. Mizroch, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, U. S. Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. "Students competing in Challenge X are on a quest to deliver environmentally friendly, functional and fuel efficient vehicles that consumers want to buy."

Larry Burns, vice president of GM Research and Development and Strategic Planning, said advanced powertrain technologies and alternative fuels play a key role in GM's overall strategy to help decrease the nation's dependence on petroleum and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. "The vehicles developed by the Challenge X teams are right in line with GM's strategy and thinking," said Burns. "The real-world training you have gained though this program has given you invaluable engineering experience that has made you very marketable to the industry. In fact, GM has already hired 40 students from the first two years of the competition, and we intend to extend several offers at the conclusion of this year's program."

Other Challenge X sponsors, including Caterpillar, National Instruments, Freescale Semiconductor, Johnson Controls and MotoTron, also have hired students out of the program.

Challenge X is a unique engineering competition that is providing 17 university teams from across North America the opportunity to follow the GM Global Vehicle Development process and develop advanced propulsion technology solutions that will increase energy efficiency and reduce environmental impact. The teams are using a variety of alternative fuels including biodiesel (B20), ethanol (E85), reformulated gasoline and hydrogen.

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