SUNY Broome electric car wins the grand prize for Most Efficient Vehicle

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The SUNY Broome Electrical Engineering Technology Department and IEEE club won the grand prize April 5, 2019, for Most Efficient Vehicle at the 2019 Toyota Green Grand Prix at Watkins Glen International Raceway.

The student team designed and built the electric vehicle to compete for the most efficient use of energy.

Typical early April weather coated the car in a sheet of ice during the race. The team used 18.8 kWh of electricity to travel approximately 100 miles. This yields 180 MPGe! This figure bested production vehicles such as Teslas, Priuses, Chevy Volts and other hybrid vehicles.

The car has an interesting past. The Chevy Metro was originally converted to electric by the owner of Sarnicola Simulation Systems. During his build process, the car was flooded. After the build was finished, it was donated to the Techworks Museum. The car had been sitting in a parking lot and was a victim of vandals. The car was then donated to SUNY Broome in need of some TLC.

The student team, under the guidance of Professor Gary DiGiacomo, set out to fix the car and meet design goals of having a range of 100 miles at an average speed of 45mph. It was decided that the car would need a new battery pack, instrumentation and other energy saving measures to meet our goals.

A 24kWh Nissan Leaf battery pack was chosen to replace the dead lead acid batteries in the car. The pack was taken apart and reconfigured to 120v. The 120v pack powers a 500A Curtis motor controller that runs a 9” Advanced DC motor.

Lighting on the car was converted to low power LED lights, including a third brake light designed and built from the ground up by students.

Instrumentation to monitor the status of the pack, as well as how much energy was being used, was also designed and installed.

The team would like to thank their sponsors RedBarn, HackerThreads, BAE Systems, Raymond, and the IEEE club at SUNY Broome. Without these sponsors, we would not have a car to compete with.

They would also like to thank their EET Professors for their guidance and support.

For more information and to see the car in person, come to the SUNY Broome Open House on Saturday, April 27, in the Ice Center.

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