After doing well at the mid-point of FutureCar Challenge competition last June in Detroit, UW-Madison's Team Paradigm is working to perfect its converted Dodge Intrepid.
The team of 50 engineering students, 35 of them mechanical engineering majors, is competing with 11 of the nation's other top engineering schools to build a marketable vehicle that can ultimately achieve 80 mpg and be ready for mass production by the year 2007. The UW's entry, aptly named "FutureCow," is a diesel hybrid electric assist vehicle, integrating a turbocharged direct injection diesel engine with an electric motor and a 330V battery in parallel configuration. Each is capable of propelling the vehicle. For highway or other steady state driving conditions, the engine is the primary source of power, but for city driving or other conditions requiring modest to hard acceleration and braking, the motor provides a power assist. Both engine and electric motor output are controlled by an onboard computer.
Team Paradigm students are preparing their converted Dodge Intrepid for the FutureCar competition next summer. The car is a diesel hybrid electric assist vehicle.
At the half-way point in June, UW's team finished third overall and placed first in the endurance event. In the other nine judging events, their placements ranged from second through sixth.
The FutureCar Challenge is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy and the United States Consortium for Automotive Research, a joint research effort of Chrysler, Ford, and General Motors. The competition is designed as a showcase of industry, government, and academic cooperation and a mechanism for college and university participation in the Partnership for the Next Generation of Vehicles to improve fuel efficiency and national competitiveness. Final judging is set for June 1997 in Detroit.
Faculty advisor Professor Wayne D. Milestone is proud of the students' progress. "A project of this size and complexity offers enormous challenges," he said. "It also offers enormous opportunities for learning and understanding ranging from overall project management to the importance of getting hundreds of design, manufacturing and implementation details done correctly the first time."
Milestone also said that in its preparation for the 1997 part of the competition, "the team has analyzed data from the 1996 performance and they know where improvements are needed. They are working on changing driveline gear ratios, refining energy management and emission control strategies that get coded into the vehicle computer, and reducing weight."
Student team leader Dan Nickchen said that the group has also added two cross-functional teams: power management and data collection analysis. "These teams are cross-functional so everyone has input into those areas and we can develop a control strategy." The whole student team is highly organized, said Nickchen, and it has a two-hour weekly meeting in addition to the cross-functional meetings, executive meetings, and work sessions. Several team members are liberal arts communications majors who are creating two videos, one for a $1,000 competition prize and one as a promotional piece to appeal to prospective sponsors and to recruit new team members for each semester. Four team members also went to Detroit in October for a Chrysler-sponsored media event and to attend a FutureCar workshop.
To follow Team Paradigm's progress, check the FutureCar website: homepages.cae.wisc.edu/~vehicle.
ME Newsletter is a periodic publication of the University of
Wisconsin-Madison, Department of Mechanical Engineering. Correspondence should be sent to the address below.
Editor: Gail Gawenda
Designer: Lynda Litzkow
FALL SEMESTER 1996 -- VOL. 1 / NO. 1 Contents