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College's FutureCar Team Places Third Nationally

Half way into a national competition to design the car of the future, a team of UW-Madison students placed third among 12 of the country's top engineering schools. First-year results of the FutureCar Challenge were announced at an awards banquet last week in Dearborn, Mich.

The UW-Madison team also received awards for best over-the-road range and best sportsmanship.

For the past year, UW-Madison's Team Paradigm has been redesigning a Dodge Intrepid with the goal of building a marketable vehicle that can achieve 80 mpg and be ready for mass production by the year 2007. The designs must be "super fuel-efficient" without sacrificing comfort, safety, affordability or consumer acceptability. Students can achieve their goal by any means necessary, so long as the end result is marketable. Hybrid-vehicle technologies such as ultracapacitors, flywheels and alternative energy-conversion devices are all fair game.

Future Car Team

Engineering students prepare their FutureCar entry for competition. (large image)

During the June 17-24 judging period, vehicles were evaluated on acceleration, energy efficiency, design and emissions, as well as consumer acceptance based on criteria such as operational ease, available trunk space and the heating, ventilation and air conditioning.

Approximately 60 students -- primarily Mechanical Engineering majors -- played a role in preparing UW-Madison's car. Over the next year, they will continue refining the vehicle for the final competition next June.

FutureCar Challenge is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy and the United States Council for Automotive Research, a joint research effort of Chrysler, Ford and General Motors.

Team Paradigm website: