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CE-CERT to Test Vehicles in Automotive Engineering Competition

CE-CERT to Test Vehicles in Automotive Engineering Competition

(June 3, 2002)

UC Riverside's College of Engineering -- Center for Environmental Research and Technology (CE-CERT) will offer its facility for testing emissions from vehicles involved in Future Truck 2002, North America's college-level automotive engineering competition. The competition, scheduled for June 11-21, will use the CE-CERT facility on June 17-19.

"CE-CERT is delighted to be a part of the competition," said Joe Norbeck, director of CE-CERT. "It's all about the students, and helping them have a positive and educational experience."

Now in the third year of the competition, Future Truck brings together the resources of industry, government, and academia to cooperatively address important environmental and energy-related issues posed by the growing demand for sport utility vehicles (SUV). The competition involves a series of more than ten technical events, including emissions testing.

Events will be held at Ford's Arizona Proving Ground in Yucca, Ariz.; the California Air Resources Board (CARB) in El Monte, Calif.; and the California Motor Speedway in Fontana, Calif. The competing teams will then travel to Los Angeles for a vehicle display and awards ceremony.

For the competition, teams of students from 15 top North American universities will reengineer a conventional, mid-size Ford Explorer into a low-emissions vehicle with at least 25% higher fuel economy -- without sacrificing the performance, utility, safety, and affordability consumers want. The students will employ cutting-edge automotive technologies, including fuel cells and other advanced propulsion systems, space-age materials, and alternative fuels, such as ethanol and hydrogen. All of the teams in FutureTruck 2002 will implement hybrid electric design strategies: an internal combustion engine with a battery and electric motor, or a fuel cell with a battery and electric motor.

This year's testing will be split between CARB and CE-CERT. Approximately 10 teams will be running on reformulated gasoline, hydrogen and ethanol and will be tested at CARB. The remaining 4-5 teams, operating on diesel and low sulfur diesel, will be tested at CE-CERT.

"The tests at our facility will involve driving the vehicles over a specified cycle, in accordance with a slightly modified federal test procedure," said Tom Durbin, assistant research engineer at CE-CERT. Durbin will supervise and coordinate the tests performed at UCR. "We will be measuring the emissions of regulated pollutants such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, and particulate matter. In addition, we will measure the emissions of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide."

Today more than 50% of all new vehicle sales are SUVs and light-duty trucks, contributing to increased greenhouse gas emissions and further dependence on foreign oil because SUVs, historically, have been less energy-efficient than cars.

The University of California, Riverside ( is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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