The Emissions and Energy Consumption event is a 90 mile-long event that is designed to evaluate four key areas of student vehicles: energy consumption, tailpipe emissions, greenhouse gas emissions, and petroleum energy use. Organizers test the vehicles on a circular track at Proving Ground using a repeating drive cycle that is designed to mimic EPA 5-cycle fuel economy testing; the cycle involves a mix of city and highway driving that simulates real world situations.
The event takes approximately two and a half hours to complete, and most of the testing happens at night. This allows organizers to run on a near 24 hour cycle, and the cooler temperatures at night help ensure that no heat-related equipment or vehicle failures prevent any of the vehicles from a successful test.
According to Patrick Walsh, Event Captain for the E&EC event, night provides an ideal testing environment, with one exception.
“There are more scorpions and coyotes out and about in the desert at night,” he joked. “But the biggest challenge for students is really to build a reliable vehicle propulsion system that can not only finish the long test but also improve upon the baseline vehicle in all scored categories.”
The organizers who work the night shift for E&EC are comprised of engineers and drivers from Argonne, GM, and Horiba. This team of organizers and sponsors process the emissions data and ensure competition rules are met. This data gets passed on to the scoring team, who will be compiling all scores for the year before the winner is announced in Los Angeles on May 22. Make sure to watch the blog to see the outcome!
Check out some photos from the E&EC event: