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Costa Rican car rally is a trip for UCR hybrid vehicle

Costa Rican car rally is a trip for UCR hybrid vehicle

(March 15, 2001)

Four engineering students and one staff person from the University of California, Riverside will leave Saturday, March 24, for Costa Rica, to participate in a six-day adventure in an alternative fuel vehicle rally, called Rally del Trópico. The event is sponsored by the Association to Promote Electric Vehicles.

The UCR truck, which started life as a gasoline-powered Ford Ranger, has been transformed into a hybrid gas/electric vehicle. It will be among about 20 participants from all over the world. The 200-mile rally starts Tuesday, March 27, and crosses the country from the Caribbean to the Pacific, going through cities, towns, rainforests, and mountains. It ends Sunday, April 1.

This is not head-to-head competition. Some vehicles are electric, some are solar-powered, some are single passenger micro vehicles. "It will be a great opportunity for our students to apply what they've learned in the classroom in a challenging setting," said Mitch Boretz, a senior analyst with the College of Engineering Center for Environmental Research and Technology. "Any car that makes it through the course is a winner."

The truck has already made the trip to Costa Rica. Members of the UCR team will follow. Students are Renee Cox, Marisa Garcia, Kurt Anderson and Kevin Sharp. Each one has designed a project to carry out while in Costa Rica. Griselda Rodriguez, an administrative assistant at CE-CERT who is a fluent Spanish speaker, will accompany them. The faculty advisor is Matt Barth.

The Website (in English) for this event:

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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