EcoCAR Challenge Profile: Virginia Tech

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EcoCAR Challenge Profile: Virginia Tech
Since childhood, Lynn Gantt has had a deep seeded passion for cars and the mechanics that drive them. The Virginia native spent his weekends rebuilding antique tractors with his dad to race at tractor pulls across the state, and now the Virginia Tech graduate student is the proud team co-leader of Virginia Tech's EcoCAR Challenge team -- the winners of the three-year long competition, as announced last night at an awards ceremony in Washington, D.C..
Lynn Gantt
Energy Department Video

LYNN GANTT:  My name is Lynn Gantt and I’m the team leader for the Virginia Tech EcoCAR team.

There are 16 universities that compete in the EcoCAR Challenge.  The main goal is to reduce petroleum energy use as well as greenhouse gas emissions, while maintaining consumer acceptability.

Under hood, we have a 2.4-liter flex-fuel engine that runs on either gasoline or E85.  What we’re most proud of is our electric vehicle system.  So packaged in the rear is close to 500 pound of lithium iron phosphate battery modules.  We have a 54-mile EV range.  And that, along with our charge sustaining mode, ends up being about 80 miles per gallon gasoline equivalent.

One other thing that we did install in the vehicle this year is an actual charge port for electricity.  So some of the new charging stations, as they’re starting to install in cities like Washington, D.C. here, you’ll be able to take our vehicle and plug right up into it.

We do put engine torque down to the front axle and we put electric motor torque on the rear axle.  And it gives us a unique feature when we’re out at a drag strip where you want to put all the power to the ground, we can actually do 6.68 zero to 60 (miles per hour) time.  It has a little bit of giddy-up if we want to.

Definitely the most exciting part was having our vehicle drive 54 miles as a pure electric vehicle up at GM’s Milford Proving Grounds just last week.  It’s been a great experience for all the students involved, and I’ve learned quite a bit about myself being the team leader for the past two years.

I’m actually moving up to Michigan.  I’ll be working for General Motors, along with five other students from our – for my team.  So because of working on EcoCAR, I’ve decided to go work on the automotive industry.