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Virginia Tech wins EcoCAR challenge

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A team of students from Virginia Tech won a three-year competition to design and build a fuel-efficient, environmentally friendly vehicle.

Virginia Tech defeated 15 teams from other universities to take home the top prize in the EcoCAR: The NeXt Challenge , which is sponsored by the Department of Energy and General Motors. It is designed to train the next generation of automobile engineers.

“The ingenuity and dedication shown by the students of Virginia Tech in building this next-generation vehicle will help them launch careers as leaders in the clean energy field,” U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu said in a statement. “With the experience and skills these innovative students have gained through the EcoCAR competition, they will help reduce our nation’s reliance on oil imports and keep U.S. industries competitive in the global marketplace.”

The EcoCar competition required students to re-engineer a vehicle to minimize fuel consumption and emissions while maintaining safety and performance. Virginia Tech’s car achieved an efficiency of 82 miles per gallon, a 70 percent improvement over the stock vehicle.

Ohio University took second place and the University of Waterloo took third.

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