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UCR Environmental Engineers to expand Advanced Vehicle Program

UCR Environmental Engineers to expand Advanced Vehicle Program

(May 11, 1999)

The Riverside-based California Alternative Fuels and Energy Foundation will present a Toyota hybrid gasoline-electric car to the University of California, Riverside at 11 a.m. Thursday, May 13, at Bourns Hall on the UCR campus. The presentation marks the beginning of a partnership between the foundation and UCR's College of Engineering-Center for Environmental Research and Technology to investigate environmental and energy aspects of alternative fuels and to develop advanced transportation technologies.

The vehicle, called the Prius, will allow the College of Engineering-Center for Environmental Research and Technology (CE-CERT) to expand its research in electric and hybrid electric vehicles -- alternative fueled cars that show promise as low-polluting, convenient forms of transportation. The Prius will undergo emissions and fuel economy testing at CE-CERT's Vehicle Emissions Research Lab, a state-of-the-art facility for measuring tailpipe emissions under normal driving conditions.

The presentation from the California Alternative Fuels and Energy (CAFE) Foundation -- which funds research into cleaner-burning alternative fuels in order to advance new transportation and energy technologies -- will give faculty and student researchers at CE-CERT access to one of the newest hybrid vehicles from a major automaker. The Prius is currently available for sale in Japan and is expected to be available in the U.S. late in the year 2000. The car was donated to CAFE by the Southern States Power C ompany, a Louisiana-based electric utility that is also involved in alternative fuel production and fuel cell development.

Toyota's four-seater Prius sedan incorporates a gasoline engine and electric motor to reduce emissions that contribute to the formation of smog. It operates on electricity provided by nickel-metal-hybrid batteries at low speeds and, when additional power is needed, switches automatically to the gasoline engine. In addition, the car can recharge its batteries by rerouting power from the gasoline engine to an on-board generator and through regenerative braking.

Participating in the May 13 presentation will be: Raymond L. Orbach, UCR chancellor; Jacques S. Yeager, Sr., president of the CAFE Foundation; Satish Tripathi, dean of the Bourns College of Engineering at UCR; Heber C. Bishop, vice president of the CAFE F oundation; and Wes Berry, a chemical engineer with the alternative energy technology company NOPEC.

Reporters are invited attend and cover the presentation, which will be in front of Bourns Hall at intersection of Aberdeen Drive and North Campus Drive. There will also be opportunities for reporters to test drive the hybrid vehicle. For more information, call Kathy Barton at (909) 787-2495 or send e-mail to

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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