Thanks to Mississippi State University’s growing tradition of sustainable energy research, maroon—the official university color—can now be considered the new green. With its competition successes and engineering achievements, the student design team working on advanced vehicle technology is part of that tradition. Its latest creation is a re-engineered sport utility vehicle that earns more than 118 mpg and has a 60-mile all-electric driving range.
The students started their project with a standard SUV donated by General Motors. After creating in-depth simulations and virtual models, they replaced its standard engine with hybrid technology. The resulting automobile can be charged on a standard electrical outlet and uses regenerative braking to recharge its battery while in use. The dual-fuel platform ensures that the vehicle is functional for both day-to-day driving and long-distance trips.
Mississippi State’s EcoCAR was created as part of an ongoing series of advanced vehicle technology competitions sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy, in which competitively selected university teams re-engineer a designated automobile to improve its fuel economy and reduce emissions while maintaining performance, safety, and consumer appeal. The Mississippi State team has consistently ranked as one of the leading teams and recently won first place in the Year One EcoCar2 Competition, where they re-engineered a Chevrolet Malibu.
At the Festival, visitors participated in informative and fun, hands-on activities that explored sustainability issues, such as energy consumption, transportation choices, and potential alternative energy solutions. Through these activities, visitors learned more about the "reduce, reuse, and recycle" concept and the essential skills needed for sustainable living.