Mississippi State Wins EcoCAR Year 2!!!

Mississippi State Wins EcoCAR Year 2!!!

The EcoCAR Year 2 Competition began Monday night, May 17th with the team performing Miley Cyrus’ “Party in the USA” for their opening night “air band” skit.  It ended Thursday, May 27th with the team Partying in San Diego celebrating their third championship in the last four years.

The first part of the competition was held in Yuma, AZ at General Motors’ Desert Proving Grounds.  Two days were spent going over the car with a fine-tooth comb, verifying that it was safe, roadworthy, and ready to handle the abuse and harsh conditions that were waiting.  Finally, the competition safety inspectors were satisfied, and MSU was the first team given clearance to start running events.  The events completed in Yuma were:

Acceleration and Braking (65 points)- An all-out, tire-squealing measure of the vehicle’s 0-60 mph, 50-70 mph, and 60-0 mph performance.

Lane Change (20 points)- A practical, real-world measure of the fastest speed at which the vehicle can safely execute an emergency lane change.

Towing (35 points)- A pass/fail event in which the vehicle must tow 1500 lb. up a 3.5% grade, while maintaining at least 45 mph for 15 miles.

Autocross (30 points)- A vicious, aggressive serpentine cone course on which vehicles compete for the fastest time.

AVL Drive Quality (30 points)- Vehicles are loaded down with sensors, accelerometers, and microphones, and put through a predefined series of acceleration, cruising, and braking events to quantitatively evaluate drivability.

Dynamic Consumer Acceptability (45 points)- Subjectively assesses vehicle noise, vibration, and harshness (NVH) and ride and handling performance over varying road surfaces.

Fuel Consumption (85 points)- The first of four big events which are all evaluated during the 160-mile Emissions and Energy Consumption drive schedule.  This event is pretty simple: The distance traveled divided by the amount of gas (or diesel) used to travel that distance.  Biodiesel and E85 are converted to “gasoline equivalent” based on energy content of the fuels.

Tailpipe Emissions (85 points)- Semtech portable exhaust gas analyzers are mounted in the cargo area of the vehicle and used to measure bad stuff coming out of the exhaust pipe; namely, nitric oxides (NOx), hydrocarbons (THC), and carbon monoxides (CO).

Well-to-Wheel Petroleum Energy Use (85 points)- Starting to get a little more complicated.  This event evaluates the vehicle not only on the fuel used out of the tank to go a certain distance, but also takes into account the energy used to produce, refine, and transport that fuel before it ever reaches the car.  This event also takes into account the “grid” electricity used by plug-in hybrids, such as MSU’s car.

Well-to-Wheel Greenhouse Gas Emissions (85 points)- Similarly to the above event, this one takes into account every source of emissions along the entire fuel cycle.  This can go all the way back to the fumes from the tractors used to farm the soybeans which are used to produce the team’s biodiesel.  One of the most significant contributors to this overall score is carbon dioxide emissions from the electricity plants which supply the plugs in your house, and hence supply the vehicle’s plug-in battery pack.