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Andy Frank's Trinity PHEV at UC Davis unveiled

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  • Felix Kramer
    This is the latest project of Prof. Andy Frank, who is the inventor of the modern plug-in hybrid and an advisor to CalCars. It s from the UC Davis Advanced
    Message 1 of 1 , May 22, 2006
      This is the latest project of Prof. Andy Frank,
      who is the inventor of the modern plug-in hybrid
      and an advisor to CalCars. It's from the UC Davis
      Advanced Hybrid Center
      <http://www.team-fate.net>, continuing in the
      tradition of other "ground-up" PHEVs (not
      converted hybrids like we've done) described
      there and at <http://www.calcars.org/history.html>.

      New Super-Efficient Plug-in Hybrid Unveiled
      May 18, 2006

      "Trinity," a highly fuel-efficient plug-in hybrid
      vehicle, was unveiled today by engineering
      students at the University of California, Davis.
      The vehicle is the team's entry in the national
      Challenge X competition, sponsored by General
      Motors Corp. and the U.S. Department of Energy.
      Field trials for the competition will take place in Phoenix next month.

      Trinity is a 2006 model Chevy Equinox SUV powered
      by electric motors and a small internal
      combustion engine that can run on gasoline or
      ethanol. The electric motors and batteries
      provide power for driving at low speeds and for a
      range of up to 40 miles, and the gas engine
      supplies additional power for longer journeys and highway driving.

      "This is a car that is completely sustainable
      with no oil at all," said Andy Frank, professor
      of mechanical and aeronautical engineering at UC
      Davis, who advises the team. Trinity does all the
      things a conventional model of the vehicle can do
      with higher performance, Frank said.

      Unlike hybrids currently on the market such as
      the Toyota Prius, Trinity's batteries can be
      recharged from a domestic power supply, allowing
      the vehicle to be powered by cheap off-peak
      electricity. This reduces fuel consumption and
      emissions and allows the vehicle to run
      exclusively on electric power for most short trips around town.

      Computer models run by the team show that
      Trinity's average gas consumption in everyday use
      could reach about 200 miles per gallon, assuming
      an all-electric range of 40 miles, said graduate
      student Peter English, outreach coordinator for the team.

      As part of the project, team members have been
      teaching classes on hybrids at Vaca Pena Middle
      School in Vacaville and Little Oak Rural School
      in Oregon House, east of Yuba City. The school
      students have been working on controls for
      electric motors and aim to move on to building
      hybrid go-karts and eventually a hybrid car, English said.

      Frank sees plug-in hybrids as a way to integrate
      transportation energy use with stationary energy
      systems for homes and businesses. Solar panels on
      home rooftops could be used to charge vehicle
      batteries for driving. While parked and plugged
      in, vehicles could feed stored energy back to the
      home or to the electricity grid.

      Trinity also carries a small on-board fuel cell
      to provide auxiliary power for air conditioning,
      entertainment systems and other services.

      Trinity is the latest refinement in a series of
      award-winning plug-in hybrids built by Frank and
      his students. Others include "Sequoia," a Chevy
      Suburban, and "Yosemite," a Ford Explorer. The
      group has also built high mileage versions of the Mercury Sable and other cars.

      The original unmodified vehicle was donated by
      General Motors and supplied locally by Hanlees
      Chevrolet of Davis for the competition.

      Challenge X is a three-year national competition
      sponsored by General Motors, the U.S. Department
      of Energy (DOE) and other partners. Engineering
      students from 17 universities across North
      America are challenged to re-engineer a mid-size
      SUV to achieve better fuel economy and lower
      emissions. The program provides the opportunity
      for engineering schools to participate in
      real-world research and math-intensive
      development with leading-edge automotive
      propulsion, fuels, materials and emissions-control technologies.

      In the first year (2004-5), teams worked on
      vehicle design using the same techniques and
      software as auto industry designers. Over the
      past year, they have worked on putting their
      designs together in an actual vehicle, which will
      compete in field tests this June. In the final
      year (2006-7), they will refine their vehicles
      leading up to the final competition.

      Media contact(s):
      • Andy Fell, UC Davis News Service, (530) 752-4533, ahfell@...
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