BYU students create hybrid racecar for national competition

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PROVO -- Brigham Young University students showed off a new car they designed and built for a national competition.

The 2010 Formula Hybrid Competition takes place May 3-6 at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway, in Loudon, N.H.

Created by 13 engineering students, the car is very unique. It's much more than an electric racecar, but a hybrid, which the students say gives them an extra advantage -- not just for this competition, but as they join the workforce.

Car No. 12 got its final tune-up in preparation for a competition in New Hampshire next week.

"It's a lot of fun. I like cars a lot and it's kind of what I do," said BYU engineering student Sean Cornwell. "This is probably the fastest car off the line I've ever driven and it handles amazingly well, it corners very well."

The BYU formula hybrid racecar is also very efficient. It gets 80 miles per gallon. It's 70 percent electric but can add in generator power, giving it an extra punch, going from 0 to 60 mph in 3.9 seconds.

What is... Formula Hybrid?
Formula Hybrid™ is a design and engineering challenge for undergraduate and graduate college and university students. They must design, build, and compete an open-wheel, single-seat, plug-in hybrid racecar. This car must conform to a formula which emphasizes drive train innovation and fuel efficiency in a high-performance application.

Team Captain Peter Ransom described the benefits of the car: "It's a hybrid for one, and the unique thing about our car is the high-powered batteries we are running, and also the hybrid system that allows us to run off our batteries and our generator simultaneously."

During the Formula Hybrid competition, 35 schools from around the world will put their cars to the test in categories of design, business plan, acceleration and endurance of the race -- all vying for the top prize.

"We've worked very hard and we're competing against some big schools, and we're all looking forward to the competition," Ransom said.

After two semesters with eight hours of effort a week, it's a project that is finally paying off for the students, win or lose.

"I've loved working on this project," Cornwell said. "It's been an amazing experience to go from a drawing board to building a complete working car. I'm just lucky to have the chance."

The competition begins at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway next Monday. The students head out Tuesday.



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