Automotive

Students build an award-winning hybrid racecar

Students build an award-winnin...
Hybrid Blue, competing earlier this month in New Hampshire
Hybrid Blue, competing earlier this month in New Hampshire
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Hybrid Blue can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in about three seconds
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Hybrid Blue can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in about three seconds
Hybrid Blue, with the BYU team
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Hybrid Blue, with the BYU team
Hybrid Blue, competing earlier this month in New Hampshire
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Hybrid Blue, competing earlier this month in New Hampshire
Team members with Hybrid Blue
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Team members with Hybrid Blue
Hybrid Blue, competing earlier this month in New Hampshire
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Hybrid Blue, competing earlier this month in New Hampshire
Hybrid Blue in competition
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Hybrid Blue in competition
Hybrid Blue in the pit area
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Hybrid Blue in the pit area
Team members working on Hybrid Blue
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Team members working on Hybrid Blue

Last month we told you about a team of engineering students from Utah’s Brigham Young University (BYU), who were competing in a wall-climbing contest using a Batman-inspired system that they created. While they may not have won that competition, the university recently alerted us to another one of its student engineering teams that did take first place in another contest – in this case, they designed a very fast, very efficient hybrid racecar.

The car is known as Hybrid Blue, and was built by a group of 16 undergraduate students under the supervision of BYU’s Dr. Robert Todd. It came in first at the 2012 Formula Hybrid International Competition, held at the the New Hampshire Motor Speedway earlier this month.

Hybrid Blue produces 100 horsepower and 450 foot-pounds (610 Nm) of torque. The parallel hybrid is propelled by both an E85 (ethanol-based) fuel-burning engine, and an electric motor that is powered by a 72-volt lithium-polymer battery pack. It can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph (96.5 km/h) in approximately three seconds.

Hybrid Blue, competing earlier this month in New Hampshire
Hybrid Blue, competing earlier this month in New Hampshire

In the course of the event, Hybrid Blue underwent a mechanical inspection, and competed against entries from 40 other universities in a record-setting acceleration run, an endurance run, an autocross event and an agility race. In the 22-kilometer (13.7-mile) endurance run, it not only came in first, but also finished with fuel left over and 75 percent of a full charge still left on the battery.

This was the final project for the retiring Dr.Todd, and marked the first time that BYU has taken first place at the event since beginning to compete in 2009.

Hybrid Blue can be seen in action in the video below.

Source: Brigham Young University

BYU Formula Hybrid Wins First Place in 2012 Competition

9 comments
Slowburn
I am not opposed to the hybrid concept but I think using electrical energy storage is the wrong way to go. Given the same amount of money I think a pneumatic or flywheel hybrid or just ICE at the same displacement would have been faster.
Catha Lamm
BYU tied for first place with Canada's Universite de Sherbrooke.
katgod
Slowburn, what is an ICE of similar displacement mean? After I have a couple of beers I also think pneumatic or flywheel is the way to go.
yrag
"This was the final project for the retiring Dr.Todd" Congrats Dr. Todd! Nice way to go out!
Dave Cross
Your flywheel or pneumatic solution would probably be a bit flat after you'd parked overnight. Electricity is easier to store for long periods.
Slowburn
re; katgod ICE = Internal Combustion Engine "at the same displacement" = Using the same sized ICE engine. .......................................................................................................................... re; Dave Cross Granted the flywheel will self-discharge faster than batteries but it will charge faster without the risk of explosion and fire and its lower cost and longer life will more than pay for the energy loss. My pneumatic solution includes waste heat recovery and a tank that doesn't leak air at near the rate batteries self-discharge.
Griffin
Being from BYU, they should do a bit more streamling and go to Bonneville. If nothing else, they can go for "Time-Slip only" and define their own record. USFRA doesn't require pre-registration, they just give a discount for it. Tech should not be too bad as a cart- especially since the engine is to the rear. Weight at Bonneville is good- traction for speed is what you want. Acceleration at this level is not so important. Lastly, the short course will get more runs in a day for anyone who's interested. The long course can sometimes just give just 1-2 runs a day. This would be a short course unit anyway- sub-200mph.
starider
Good going guys. If everyone used this kind of technology in our cars the oil companies can raise gas prices to $20 A GALLON.
Slowburn
re; Griffin Define their own record = Unable to compete with whats already there.