futuretruck FutureTruck

Since the beginning, more than 93 universities across North America and 16,500 students have participated in AVTCs. Each year, 200-500 students join forces in AVTCs mission of educating the next generation of automotive engineers and advancing state-of-the-art fuels and vehicle technologies.

During FutureTruck, 15 universities competed in both the General Motors FutureTruck and Ford FutureTruck series. However, each series featured different universities that spanned across the United States and Canada and include the following:

California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo

  • Location: San Luis Obispo, California
  • Years Involved: 2001-2002, 2002-2003, 2003-2004
  • Ford Explorer Vehicle Strategy: The design strategy attempted to maximize the efficiency of the most inefficient components and reduce the inefficiencies associated with the conversion of energy from fuel to electricity. The team built a series hybrid with complete load isolation. A 2-L ethanol engine and modified Warp 11 electric motor allowed the team to increase the vehicle’s power by 75 percent. The team also worked on FamilySmart adaptive controls to adjust to different driving styles within a single family.
  • Faculty Advisors: Dr. Chris Pascual, Dr. Brian Higgins, and Dr. George Delgrammatikas

Concordia University

  • Location: Montreal, Quebec, Canada
  • Years Involved: 1999-2000, 2000-2001
  • Chevrolet Suburban Vehicle Strategy: The team designed a parallel diesel hybrid, which featured a Cummins 3.9L four-cylinder engine, Optima 52 Ah lead-acid batteries, and a 21-hp Advanced DC motor. The diesel direct-injection engine was used as the primary power plant. Tailpipe filtering was incorporated into the vehicle to further control and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The vehicle featured an improved charge-sustaining control strategy that used a motor controller with regenerative braking capabilities.
  • Faculty Advisor: Henry Hong

Cornell University

  • Location: Ithaca, New York
  • Years Involved: 1999-2000, 2000-2001, 2001-2002, 2002-2003, 2003-2004
  • Chevrolet Suburban Vehicle Strategy: The team’s split-parallel design made use of the 1.8L Mazada Miata turbocharged internal combustion engine with an electric motor, so that it performed at its most efficient points on a particular torque curve. This allowed for energy storage when the engine was at a low load and a power boost to assist the engine when it was more heavily loaded. The use of the 150 kW electric motor allowed for regenerative braking and a substantial total available power in the parallel hybrid design. The team also selected E85 as their fuel and used lightweight components to enhance consumer acceptability by using aluminum and carbon fiber materials.
  • Ford Explorer Vehicle Strategy: The team chose a post-transmission split-parallel charge-sustaining hybrid design which used a small turbocharged engine that offered power density and an electric motor. The 150 kW electric motor provided low-end torque and power assist, which allowed the engine to run at its most efficient operating range for stead-state needs. The team also used lightweight materials including aluminum and carbon fiber materials to improve aerodynamics and consumer acceptability. The team later switched to a Nissan SR20DET turbocharged 2 L four-cylinder spark ignition engine that would run on reformulated gasoline.
  • Faculty Advisors: Robert Thomas, John Lumley, and John Callister

George Washington University

  • Location: Washington, D.C.
  • Years Involved: 1999-2000, 2000-2001
  • Chevrolet Suburban Vehicle Strategy: The team utilized a series hybrid design, which included a Volkswagen TDI 1.9L 4-cylinder diesel engine and a 90 Kw New Generators Motor. The engine employed advanced computer system to minimize power loss and reduce emissions. The team also included 12 V Electrosource 12H85 batteries for energy storage. Students designed and manufactured many of the vehicle powertrain components, which allowed each component to be designed for a specific function and weight reduction.
  • Faculty Advisor: Vahid Motevalli

Georgia Institute of Technology

  • Location: Atlanta, Georgia
  • Years Involved: 1999-2000, 2000-2001, 2001-2002, 2002-2003, 2003-2004
  • Chevrolet Suburban Vehicle Strategy: The team utilized a charged-sustaining parallel hybrid design, which featured a 336 V AC-Propulsion motor parallel with the drive shaft. The General Motors’ LM7, 5.3L V-8 engine used a new type of injection system as well as reformulated gasoline. The complex control strategy ensured the most efficient operation and the vehicle featured Panasonic LC-X1128P, sealed 12 V lead acid batteries for energy storage.
  • Ford Explorer Vehicle Strategy: For this vehicle, the team decided on a split-parallel hybrid configuration to meting packaging constraints. The vehicle featured an 200-peak-hp AC induction electric motor to drive the front wheels and provide the majority of the acceleration torque, while the 210-peak-hp six-cylinder engine controlled the rear wheels and supplied cruising torque and electric energy generation. The vehicle was designed to deliver impressive performance, ultra-low emissions, and improved fuel economy while retaining stock functionality and customer acceptability.
  • Faculty Advisor: Dr. Jerome Meisel, Dr. Caryn Riley, Boyd Pettitt, and Gail Palmer

Michigan Technological University

  • Location: Houghton, Michigan
  • Years Involved: 1999-2000, 2000-2001, 2001-2002, 2002-2003, 2003-2004
  • Chevrolet Suburban Vehicle Strategy: The team’s design strategy involved a power-split configuration which demonstrated characteristics of both a series and parallel configuration. A power-split hybrid divided power produced by the engine into mechanical and electrical pathways to the final output shaft. This allowed a control over engine operating states without the disadvantage of excessive energy conversion. Under normal operation, the power-split could be viewed as an electric continuously variable transmission (ECVT). The team also featured a 3.5L V-6 General Motor’s LX5 engine, UQM SR-218 electric motor, and 16 Ah Hawker sealed lead-acid batteries for energy storage.
  • Ford Explorer Vehicle Strategy: The team designed a parallel through-the-road design for their Explorer. Instead of having the motor directly coupled to the engine, the connection between the two was through the road. The engine was designed to drive the front wheels while the motor supplemented the power through the rear wheels. The team also included specific control strategies for emission and lightweight materials for aerodynamics.
  • Faculty Advisor: Dr. John Beard

Ohio State University

  • Location: Columbus, Ohio
  • Years Involved: 1999-2000, 2000-2001, 2001-2002, 2002-2003, 2003-2004
  • Chevrolet Suburban Vehicle Strategy: The team used innovative components to maintain vehicle utility in their parallel hybrid approach. The vehicle utilized a 2.4L 5-cylinder diesel Fiat engine, 68 kW ECOSTAR motor, and 26 Ah Hawker sealed lead-acid batteries for energy storage. The high-tech diesel engine acted as the primary power source and the AC induction electric motor as the supplement. The emissions from the diesel engine were addressed by designing a new emissions after-treatment system that reduced oxides of nitrogen emissions.
  • Ford Explorer Vehicle Strategy: The team chose a charge-sustaining, parallel hybrid strategy. The main power source was an advanced compression-ignition direct-injection (CIDI) engine with efficiency and emission characteristics coupled to a 5-speed manual transmission. The biodiesel engine mitigated the greenhouse gas impact of the vehicle. A 55 kW AC induction motor directly coupled to the driveshaft provided additional power and regenerative braking. A user-transparent control strategy was implemented to optimize the powertrain performance, reduce fuel consumption and emissions, and manage the battery state-of-charge.
  • Faculty Advisors: Dr. Yann Guezennec, Dr. Giorgio Rizzoni, Dr. Gregory Washington, Frank Ohlemacher, and Lino Guzzlla

Penn State University

  • Location: University Park, Pennsylvania
  • Years Involved: 1999-2000, 2000-2001, 2001-2002, 2002-2003, 2003-2004
  • Chevrolet Suburban Vehicle Strategy: The series hybrid design featured different energy storage techniques, including fuel cells, advanced batteries, and flywheel energy storage. The team’s vehicle also included a 4L TDI, 4-cylinder diesel Perkins engine and three 70 kW Solectria motors.
  • Ford Explorer Vehicle Strategy:  The vehicle design included that of a parallel hybrid electric vehicle, primarily powered by a high efficient 2.5L, 139 hp engine. A 5-speed manual transmission transferred power from the engine to the wheels for the maximum efficiency. A 46 hp Solectria AC 21 electric motor was coupled to the driveshaft after the transmission, giving the driver extra power during heavy acceleration. The team also included regenerative braking and the ability to put the transfer case in neutral.
  • Faculty Advisors: Dr. Donald Streit, Dr. Heath Hofmann, Joel Anstrom, and Dr. Dan Haworth

Texas Tech University

  • Location: Lubbock, Texas
  • Years Involved: 1999-2000, 2000-2001, 2001-2002, 2002-2003, 2003-2004
  • Chevrolet Suburban Vehicle Strategy: The team’s system control theory was that of an electric vehicle with an internal combustion engine cruise assist. The team utilized reformulated gasoline in its General Motors’ 3.1L V-6 engine. The vehicle also featured 40 Ah Bluestar lead-acid batteries for energy storage and two 78kW Solectria motors.
  • Ford Explorer Vehicle Strategy: The centerpiece of the vehicle was a 2.3 L hydrogen powered Ford internal combustion engine that supplied power. The post-transmission parallel vehicle also included innovative drivetrain components, a Solectria 75 kW electric motor, a 300 VDC NiMH energy storage system, and lightweight materials for consumer acceptability.
  • Faculty Advisors: Dr. Timothy Maxwell, Dr. Daryl Vines, and Dr. Michael Parten

University of Alberta

  • Location: Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
  • Years Involved: 2001-2002, 2002-2003, 2003-2004
  • Ford Explorer Vehicle Strategy: The team’s approach to the hybrid design was to couple an efficient and powerful natural combustion engine with a regenerative electric motor drive. The two drive through a common transmission and drivetrain, separated by an over-running sprag clutch. The sprag clutch allowed for both the engine and electric motor to transfer power to the transmission and allowed the electric motor to overrun the engine when not in use. This design placed a Ford 2.0L TDCi engine, running on a biodiesel blend (B35), in parallel with a brushless DC motor. Electrical energy is stored in a NiMH battery pack.
  • Faculty Advisor: Bob Koch and Dr. David Checkel

University of California, Davis

  • Location: Davis, California
  • Years Involved: 1999-2000, 2000-2001, 2001-2002, 2002-2003, 2003-2004
  • Chevrolet Suburban Vehicle Strategy: The team’s vehicle strategy was to develop a charge-depleting parallel hybrid. The vehicle, which ran on reformulated gasoline, featured a Saturn 1.9L, 4-cylinder engine, two UQM 75 kW motors, and a 29 kWh Ovonic NiMH energy storage system. The other design elements include lightweight components, aerodynamic improvements, custom powertrain elements, and an advanced control system to achieve the desired performance.
  • Ford Explorer Vehicle Strategy: Through the use of lightweight components, aerodynamic improvements, custom powertrain elements, embedded electronics, and an advanced control strategies, the team designed their vehicle to have minimal greenhouse gas impact and double fuel economy. A large battery pack and electric motor allowed the plug-in hybrid to take full advantage of the high energy efficiency of electricity and provide a 50-mile, all-electric zero-emissions driving range.
  • Faculty Advisors: Dr. Mark Duvall and Dr. Andy Frank

University of Idaho

  • Location: Moscow, Idaho
  • Years Involved: 1999-2000, 2000-2001, 2001-2002, 2002-2003, 2003-2004
  • Chevrolet Suburban Vehicle Strategy: The team designed a series hybrid to meet consumer needs without reducing the space or utility of the stock vehicle. The vehicle design optimized fuel economy and emissions and ran on biodiesel (B20). The team’s vehicle also featured a Volkswagen TDI 1.9L engine, 150 kW AC Propulsion motor, and a 23 Ah Hawker Odyssey energy storage system. The diesel engine, used for recharging the battery pack, was mechanically decoupled from the transmission to operate at its optimum efficiency range at all times.
  • Ford Explorer Vehicle Strategy: The team designed a soft parallel system based on weight, reliability, efficiency, emissions, and installation. The design implemented a modified internal combustion engine, along with an electronic motor to assist the vehicle under hard acceleration.
  • Faculty Advisors: Dr. Steve Beyerlein, Dr. Don Blackketter, Dr. Dean Edwards, and Frank Albrecht

University of Maryland

  • Location: College Park, Maryland
  • Years Involved: 1999-2000, 2000-2001, 2001-2002, 2002-2003, 2003-2004
  • Chevrolet Suburban Vehicle Strategy: The vehicle was an ethanol-fueled parallel hybrid, in which the electric motor was connected through the back of the transfer case. The vehicle, which ran on ethanol, featured a General Motors’ 3.8 L V-6 engine, Satcon 75 kW electric motor, and a PowerSonic 18 Ah 12 V battery back. Other innovations included a graphite composite hood to reduce overall weight and a belly pan to reduce aerodynamic drag.
  • Ford Explorer Vehicle Strategy: The team design included a Lincoln LS 3.0L six-cylinder engine and a Honda Insight electric motor coupled between the new engine and the stock transmission. The ethanol engine and NiMH energy storage will power the motor. Regenerative braking was used  to charge the batteries. The vehicle’s fuel changed to reformulated gasoline in the fourth year. The team designed adapter plates to mate an electric motor to the internal combustion engine and transmission. Throttle-by-wire technology was implemented to overcome the constraints presented by manual throttle control. Wind tunnel testing helped the team to implement a front air dam and a rear spoiler to improve the Excite’s coefficient of drag. Using Labview, the team wrote a hybrid control strategy that controlled the hybrid powertrain. An infotainment system with an in-dash touch screen was implemented to allow the driver to monitor vehicle status.
  • Faculty Advisors: Dr. David Holloway

University of Tennessee, Knoxville

  • Location: Knoxville, Tennessee
  • Years Involved: 1999-2000, 2000-2001, 2001-2002, 2002-2003, 2003-2004
  • Chevrolet Suburban Vehicle Strategy: The vehicle used a parallel traction assist hybrid design, which incorporated a high-efficiency direct injected diesel 2.4 L 5-cylinder engine coupled to an in-line axial gap 90 kW Alfa Romeo JTD electric motor. In addition, the team replaced the vehicle heat exchangers with carbon foam composite radiators, and added microwave regenerated particulate trap and NOx absorbers for emissions control. The team also reduced the vehicle’s weight, made aerodynamic improvements, and implemented improved hybrid control strategies.
  • Ford Explorer Vehicle Strategy: The team designed a post-transmission parallel hybrid powertrain. The design had a reduced engine displaced and incorporated a large electric motor. The design allowed to stop the engine when the vehicle was stopped and operated as a zero-emission vehicle during some phases of driving. The team switched to a pre-transmission strategy in the final year. A 2.3L, four-cylinder Ford engine optimized for E85 and a 53kW Unique Mobility electric motor powered the system.
  • Faculty Advisors: Dr. Jeff Hodgson, Dr. William Hamel, Jeff Freeman, and Dr. David Irick

University of Wisconsin – Madison

  • Location: Madison, Wisconsin
  • Years Involved: 1999-2000, 2000-2001, 2001-2002, 2002-2003, 2003-2004
  • Chevrolet Suburban Vehicle Strategy: The team used lightweight components to reduce the load in their parallel electric assist drivetrain. This improved fuel economy and emissions without sacrificing utility, safety, or consumer acceptability. The vehicle also featured a diesel 2.4 L 4-cylinder Ford engine, 78 kW Solectria electric motor, and 16.8 Ah Moltech Power Systems NiMH energy storage system. The team’s custom transfer cased used a chain-drive and a front mounting flange for a through-shaft electric motor. The motor was optimized for power-to-weight and efficiency at driveshaft speeds.
  • Ford Explorer Vehicle Strategy: The team’s strategy was to design an efficient hybrid drivetrain and to implement lightweight components. The drivetrain included a common rail direct-injection diesel engine coupled to a 5-speed manual transmission. The transfer case was a modified stock transfer case that was ‘divorced’ from the transmission with a short ‘jack’ shaft. The transfer case utilized the stock chain-drive configuration and provided the front mounting flange for the in-line electric motor. Wisconsin utilized a Ford Lynx 1.8L compression-ignition engine in conjunction with a modified Delphi EV1 AC induction motor in a post-transmission parallel hybrid. Engelhard supplied a selective catalytic reduction (SCR) catalyst and a particulate filter to help Wisconsin strive for SULEV emissions. The engine is coupled to a Borg-Warner T5 transmission and maintains the vehicle’s 4-wheel-drive capability with a Borg Warner 13-54 transfer case.
  • Faculty Advisors: Dr. Glenn Bower

Virginia Tech

  • Location: Blacksburg, Virginia
  • Years Involved: 1999-2000, 2000-2001, 2001-2002, 2002-2003, 2003-2004
  • Chevrolet Suburban Vehicle Strategy: The team’s vehicle design featured a hydrogen fuel cell in a series configuration. The design yielded the least tail pipe emissions and overall fuel cycle emissions. The vehicle also featured two 100 kW PEI EV 2000 electric motors and a 42 Ah Hawker Genesis sealed lead-acid energy storage system.
  • Ford Explorer Vehicle Strategy: The team’s design featured a hydrogen fuel cell system to generate electricity to power the vehicle. This strategy improved fuel efficiency and fuel economy, while reducing overall emissions from driving the vehicle.
  • Faculty Advisors: Dr. Doug Nelson

West Virginia University

  • Location: Morgantown, West Virginia
  • Years Involved: 1999-2000, 2000-2001, 2001-2002, 2002-2003, 2003-2004
  • Chevrolet Suburban Vehicle Strategy: The team’s vehicle strategy featured a transfer case, which housed the 4-wheel drive components and the 75 kW UQM electric motor. The parallel hybrid design, which utilized diesel, included a 4.2 L VM Motori engine and a 17 Ah Panasonic sealed lead-acid energy storage system.  The post-transmission design included improved controls, particularly on the optimized hybrid control and improved driveability, weight reduction, and emissions reduction.
  • Ford Explorer Vehicle Strategy: The team selected a post-transmission parallel hybrid design powered by a Detroit Diesel 2.5 L common-rail engine. The electric motor was connected to the driveline using a chain drive behind the transfer case. Advanced hybrid vehicle controls were integrated to improve the vehicle’s driveability and increase fuel efficiency. Urea with selective catalytic reduction was used to reduce NOx emissions.
  • Faculty Advisors: Dr. Chris Atkinson and Dr. Nigel Clark