Missouri University of Science and Technology and Fairground Auto Plaza are hosting GM Day Saturday, Oct. 3, in Rolla as part of National Energy Awareness Month. During the event, a team of students from Missouri S&T will unveil a 2009 Saturn VUE that has been donated by GM for use in a new collegiate advanced vehicle technology competition.
The general public is invited to the event, which will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Missouri S&T’s E3 Commons facility, located on Collegiate Station Blvd.
Seventeen universities across the United States and Canada, including Missouri S&T, have been invited to re-engineer a 2009 Saturn VUE to further minimize fuel consumption and reduce emissions while retaining the car’s performance and consumer appeal. Organizers of the three-year competition, EcoCar: The NeXt Challenge, hope to inspire the next generation of automotive leaders by giving them the tools and experience necessary to secure a more energy-efficient future.
GM provides vehicles, vehicle components, seed money, technical mentoring and operational support. The Department of Energy and its research and development facility, Argonne National Laboratory, provide competition management, team evaluation, technical and logistical support.
The Missouri S&T team is building an advanced vehicle powered by hydrogen fuel cell and lithium ion batteries from their Saturn VUE. The team has already designed a virtual model of their plug-in hybrid electric vehicle using advanced software and computer modeling tools. Now the students will begin to work under the hood in order to turn their designs into reality.
“The EcoCAR competition gives students hands-on design and engineering experience,” says Dr. John W. Sheffield, professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at Missouri S&T. “Our students have worked hard this past year, and they are excited for the opportunity to integrate their design into the hydrogen fuel cell plug-in hybrid electric vehicle.”
Fairground is participating in GM Day in order to educate the public about the future of the automobile industry and GM’s current energy efficient models. Several 2009 and 2010 vehicles will be on display at the E3 Commons, which houses Missouri S&T’s hydrogen refueling station and other facilities.