Wayne State University students got the keys to a 2013 Chevrolet Malibu this morning that they're going to re-design to make more eco-friendly as part of an international, three-year auto-engineering contest.
The Detroit-based school is the only Michigan school competing in the EcoCAR2 contest -- and one of only 13 American universities, according to associate engineering professor Jerry Ku, the team's faculty advisor.
GM donated the new white car, which the 40 undergrads and grad students -- most of whom are studying mechanical, control and electrical engineering -- have spent the last year planning to re-design. Years two and three are used for the actual rebuilding, refining and testing of their prototypes.
"This is my passion," said GM engineering group manager of transmission software Chris Trush, who serves as team mentor, told the students. "Year two is where the fun really begins."
Among the changes the team, dubbed the Hybrid Warriors, plans to implement are changing the vehicle to four-wheel drive and putting an electric motor in the back of the vehicle, plus they have to work on the software that will control all of this, said Idan Regev, the second-year graduate student who's the project manager.
"The innovation is in the integration," the 32-year-old Huntington Woods resident added. "Putting parts together is not trivial.... We have to tear parts apart and fit them in it."
The team's motto is a play on the university's ad slogan: "Aim Higher. Aim hybrid."
The competition was created by The U.S. Department of Energy and GM to allow students to get real-world, hands-on experience with vehicle integration of advanced propulsion technologies.
In addition to the GM car, the team received cash or equipment donations from General Dynamics Land Systems, IAV, SPX, Rinehart Motion Systems, Remy and Delphi, according to the university.
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