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UW-Madison College of Engineering students challenged to build futurecar

Students in front of cars

College of Engineering students are tearing apart a new Dodge Intrepid with the goal of building a marketable vehicle that can get 80 mpg. Team Paradigm is the student organization that built the award-winning Hybrid Electric Vehicle. The team is now competing with 12 of North America's top engineering schools in the FutureCar Challenge. (large image)

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 as long as the car could be massed produced by 2007.

Two week-long design and performance evaluations will be conducted in June of 1996 and '97. The range, acceleration, energy efficiency, design and emissions will be evaluated as well as consumer acceptance based on criteria such as operational ease, available trunk space and the heating, ventilation and air conditioning.

The competition is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the United States Council for Automotive Research (USCAR), a joint research venture between Chrysler Corporation, Ford Motor Company and General Motors Corporation. The sponsors are working together to develop technologies that would make possible a vehicle offering up to three times the fuel efficiency of today's mid-sized cars, while maintaining the price performance and utility currently available. Concept cars are to be developed by 2000 and prototypes by 2004.

FutureCar has it's own home page at