Teenage-Built Diesel Hybrid Does 0-60 in 4 Seconds, Soon to Break 100 MPG

 

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Students from West Philadelphia High School have built a diesel-hybrid race car that goes from 0-60 in four seconds. While the car currently gets 60+ mpg, they hope to soon break 100 mpg.

Why? They are competing for $10 million in the Automotive X-Prize .

Called the Hybrid Attack, the car was built by kids from West Philly’s Academy of Automotive and Mechanical Engineering. And if that alone doesn’t make them cool, they are the only high school team competing out of 90 different teams from the U.S. and overseas.

The students were inspired by the gasoline-electric Prius they saw at the 2003 competition. But their car had to meet the proverbial requirements of a teenager: fast and cool-looking! “The Prius, it’s OK,” said Chris Millsip, a 17-year-old in his third year with the academy. “But it needs to go faster.”

Kids believe they can do anything. And I have to say I believe these kids can. According to Autoblog Green they are a top 10 contender for the prize.

“We didn’t design the car to win but to break the stereotype of what a hybrid car could be,” said Simon Hauger, the academy’s director since its inception in 1998.

In order to make the cut they must get the Hybrid Attack up to 100 mpg, make it road safe and easily mass produced.

In 2002, 2005 and 2006, the team won the Tour de Sol, a competition for alternative vehicles to drive at least 150 miles while getting 100 mpg or better. In fact, in their first attempt they beat out 40 other teams including one from MIT.

“I know we’re going to win,” said 15-year-old student Stefon Gonzalez. “We’ve got a good history of winning competitions and we’ve got the engineering background and the experience.”

Though, this time their competition includes a team from Cornell University, engineers from Ottawa and Silicon Valley, and a group led by an inventor created the voice-recognition software for the BlackBerry.

Stiff competition aside, these kids aren’t just holding their own against the likes of MIT… they are doing what the auto industry can’t (or won’t).

For me, that’s the real win.

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Source: EcoFriend





About the Author

is a web developer, part-time blogger, and a full-time environmentalist. His crusade for all things eco started twenty years ago when he ditched his meat-and-potatoes upbringing for something more vegetarian-shaped. His passions include cooking, green tech, eco politics, and smart green design. And while he doesn't own a car anymore, he loves to write about those too. Jerry studied at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, CA. During his time there he was a DJ at the campus station KCPR and he also wrote for the campus paper. Jerry currently resides in San Francisco, CA with his cat Lola. You can stalk him on Twitter @jerryjamesstone.
  • Jay Tee

    ……In a related story, Chrysler is spending 900 million dollars in a 5 year development and testing program to raise its fleet economy 3%.

  • Jay Tee

    ……In a related story, Chrysler is spending 900 million dollars in a 5 year development and testing program to raise its fleet economy 3%.

  • It is pathetic that 1) the destructive company Exxon-Mobil is trying to soften their image with a photo opportunity with these students (see the sign in the photo), and 2) why do only upstart (and brilliant) start-ups like Tesla seem to come close to the vision these HIGH SCHOOL kids (surely with some adult help, but still…) have shown. GM, Ford, and Chrysler, shame on you all.

  • It is pathetic that 1) the destructive company Exxon-Mobil is trying to soften their image with a photo opportunity with these students (see the sign in the photo), and 2) why do only upstart (and brilliant) start-ups like Tesla seem to come close to the vision these HIGH SCHOOL kids (surely with some adult help, but still…) have shown. GM, Ford, and Chrysler, shame on you all.

  • It is pathetic that 1) the destructive company Exxon-Mobil is trying to soften their image with a photo opportunity with these students (see the sign in the photo), and 2) why do only upstart (and brilliant) start-ups like Tesla seem to come close to the vision these HIGH SCHOOL kids (surely with some adult help, but still…) have shown. GM, Ford, and Chrysler, shame on you all.

  • It is pathetic that 1) the destructive company Exxon-Mobil is trying to soften their image with a photo opportunity with these students (see the sign in the photo), and 2) why do only upstart (and brilliant) start-ups like Tesla seem to come close to the vision these HIGH SCHOOL kids (surely with some adult help, but still…) have shown. GM, Ford, and Chrysler, shame on you all.

  • Gizxmo

    to get to 100mpg try some ultra caps and reduce the transients on your battery! good luck

  • Gizxmo

    to get to 100mpg try some ultra caps and reduce the transients on your battery! good luck

  • Gizxmo

    to get to 100mpg try some ultra caps and reduce the transients on your battery! good luck

  • Gizxmo

    to get to 100mpg try some ultra caps and reduce the transients on your battery! good luck

  • Steven Willmy

    The Tesla Roadster is $120,000. This is basically a Telsa Roadster with an additional diesel engine. I wonder how much it will cost now?

    These “high schoolers” *Cough* engineering teachers *cough* haven’t come across anything special. They’ve found out what happens when you take a dumb concept and throw a lot of money at it: You get something slightly better. Amazing.

    Sorry, green freaks, no mental masturbation here. Buy a Corvette that will absolutely obliterate this thing in every measurable factor of performance and reliability, then donate the $70,000+ you saved to a cause that doesn’t suck. If you can stand suffering through the Corvette’s measly 27 highway mpg, that is. Damn you GM for making a 428HP car get only 27mpg! You clearly need to work harder! Hell, buy the Z06 with 505HP and a reworked chassis for $70,000, save $20,000 for gas (not that you’d need half that, because the Z06 gets 26mpg), and then you still have $30,000+ to donate to a real cause.

  • Steven Willmy

    The Tesla Roadster is $120,000. This is basically a Telsa Roadster with an additional diesel engine. I wonder how much it will cost now?

    These “high schoolers” *Cough* engineering teachers *cough* haven’t come across anything special. They’ve found out what happens when you take a dumb concept and throw a lot of money at it: You get something slightly better. Amazing.

    Sorry, green freaks, no mental masturbation here. Buy a Corvette that will absolutely obliterate this thing in every measurable factor of performance and reliability, then donate the $70,000+ you saved to a cause that doesn’t suck. If you can stand suffering through the Corvette’s measly 27 highway mpg, that is. Damn you GM for making a 428HP car get only 27mpg! You clearly need to work harder! Hell, buy the Z06 with 505HP and a reworked chassis for $70,000, save $20,000 for gas (not that you’d need half that, because the Z06 gets 26mpg), and then you still have $30,000+ to donate to a real cause.

  • Steven Willmy

    The Tesla Roadster is $120,000. This is basically a Telsa Roadster with an additional diesel engine. I wonder how much it will cost now?

    These “high schoolers” *Cough* engineering teachers *cough* haven’t come across anything special. They’ve found out what happens when you take a dumb concept and throw a lot of money at it: You get something slightly better. Amazing.

    Sorry, green freaks, no mental masturbation here. Buy a Corvette that will absolutely obliterate this thing in every measurable factor of performance and reliability, then donate the $70,000+ you saved to a cause that doesn’t suck. If you can stand suffering through the Corvette’s measly 27 highway mpg, that is. Damn you GM for making a 428HP car get only 27mpg! You clearly need to work harder! Hell, buy the Z06 with 505HP and a reworked chassis for $70,000, save $20,000 for gas (not that you’d need half that, because the Z06 gets 26mpg), and then you still have $30,000+ to donate to a real cause.

  • Steven Willmy

    The Tesla Roadster is $120,000. This is basically a Telsa Roadster with an additional diesel engine. I wonder how much it will cost now?

    These “high schoolers” *Cough* engineering teachers *cough* haven’t come across anything special. They’ve found out what happens when you take a dumb concept and throw a lot of money at it: You get something slightly better. Amazing.

    Sorry, green freaks, no mental masturbation here. Buy a Corvette that will absolutely obliterate this thing in every measurable factor of performance and reliability, then donate the $70,000+ you saved to a cause that doesn’t suck. If you can stand suffering through the Corvette’s measly 27 highway mpg, that is. Damn you GM for making a 428HP car get only 27mpg! You clearly need to work harder! Hell, buy the Z06 with 505HP and a reworked chassis for $70,000, save $20,000 for gas (not that you’d need half that, because the Z06 gets 26mpg), and then you still have $30,000+ to donate to a real cause.

  • Scott

    “In order to make the cut they must get the Hybrid Attack up to 100 mpg, make it road safe and easily mass produced.”

    Is that all? While they’re at it, maybe they can solve cold fusion as well. LOL

    It’s great to see these kids giving it their best, but there’s not a chance in heck this particular car could meet these requirements in time for the competition.

    Carbon fiber parts, at this present time, can’t be mass produced, so not only will they have to increase efficiency by 40 mpg, but they’ll have to do it with a substantially heavier car. By the time they recreate the body from steel, they’ll be lucky if they can get 50 mpg.

    I’m not saying that an easily mass produced hybrid that goes from 0-6 in 4 seconds and gets 100 mpg can’t EVER be made, but it won’t happen within the next 5 years- THAT I guarantee you.

    It’s one thing to cheer on inner city kids winning awards for engineering, but to post things like “soon to break 100 mpg,” I’m sorry, but that’s just bad journalism.

  • Scott

    “In order to make the cut they must get the Hybrid Attack up to 100 mpg, make it road safe and easily mass produced.”

    Is that all? While they’re at it, maybe they can solve cold fusion as well. LOL

    It’s great to see these kids giving it their best, but there’s not a chance in heck this particular car could meet these requirements in time for the competition.

    Carbon fiber parts, at this present time, can’t be mass produced, so not only will they have to increase efficiency by 40 mpg, but they’ll have to do it with a substantially heavier car. By the time they recreate the body from steel, they’ll be lucky if they can get 50 mpg.

    I’m not saying that an easily mass produced hybrid that goes from 0-6 in 4 seconds and gets 100 mpg can’t EVER be made, but it won’t happen within the next 5 years- THAT I guarantee you.

    It’s one thing to cheer on inner city kids winning awards for engineering, but to post things like “soon to break 100 mpg,” I’m sorry, but that’s just bad journalism.

  • Scott

    “In order to make the cut they must get the Hybrid Attack up to 100 mpg, make it road safe and easily mass produced.”

    Is that all? While they’re at it, maybe they can solve cold fusion as well. LOL

    It’s great to see these kids giving it their best, but there’s not a chance in heck this particular car could meet these requirements in time for the competition.

    Carbon fiber parts, at this present time, can’t be mass produced, so not only will they have to increase efficiency by 40 mpg, but they’ll have to do it with a substantially heavier car. By the time they recreate the body from steel, they’ll be lucky if they can get 50 mpg.

    I’m not saying that an easily mass produced hybrid that goes from 0-6 in 4 seconds and gets 100 mpg can’t EVER be made, but it won’t happen within the next 5 years- THAT I guarantee you.

    It’s one thing to cheer on inner city kids winning awards for engineering, but to post things like “soon to break 100 mpg,” I’m sorry, but that’s just bad journalism.

  • Gyi2os

    Scott, I’m going to take a screen shot of your comment and e-mail it to you in 5 years to remind your how big of an idiot you were.

    “I’m not saying that an easily mass produced hybrid that goes from 0-6 in 4 seconds and gets 100 mpg can’t EVER be made, but it won’t happen within the next 5 years- THAT I guarantee you.”

  • Gyi2os

    Scott, I’m going to take a screen shot of your comment and e-mail it to you in 5 years to remind your how big of an idiot you were.

    “I’m not saying that an easily mass produced hybrid that goes from 0-6 in 4 seconds and gets 100 mpg can’t EVER be made, but it won’t happen within the next 5 years- THAT I guarantee you.”

  • BRandon

    By the way, the chassis is a K1 Attack Kit car which can be purchased online for roughtly 20k. The talent is in the choice of parts that they put in it and the modifications required to fit everything. By no means did these kids actually design this car from the ground up. The kit comes with the chassis and the body and most of the hardware from the factory.

  • BRandon

    By the way, the chassis is a K1 Attack Kit car which can be purchased online for roughtly 20k. The talent is in the choice of parts that they put in it and the modifications required to fit everything. By no means did these kids actually design this car from the ground up. The kit comes with the chassis and the body and most of the hardware from the factory.

  • Jerry Bursztyn

    Unlike some of the negative comments here, I am behind these kids. Not only are they making a statement that a Hybrid engine is not just for the slow and light plodders of the road, but a substantial competitive machine in higher performance street legal automobiles. To those that think it is just a waste of time to save money on less gas usage, that’s not the idea. The idea is reduction of dependency to fossil fuels. This car is using Diesel. Yes, regular diesel uses fossil fuels, but bio-diesel can be created from anything that creates sugar. Going in the direction of hybrid power plants further decreases dependency and allows more room for other resources. Instead of growing fuel grade grasses for bio-diesel, we could plant more human consumption grade foods. It’s not a “Who can make a better car” contest. It’s a “Who can make a more practical automobile that does less an impact on our future” contest.

  • Jerry Bursztyn

    Unlike some of the negative comments here, I am behind these kids. Not only are they making a statement that a Hybrid engine is not just for the slow and light plodders of the road, but a substantial competitive machine in higher performance street legal automobiles. To those that think it is just a waste of time to save money on less gas usage, that’s not the idea. The idea is reduction of dependency to fossil fuels. This car is using Diesel. Yes, regular diesel uses fossil fuels, but bio-diesel can be created from anything that creates sugar. Going in the direction of hybrid power plants further decreases dependency and allows more room for other resources. Instead of growing fuel grade grasses for bio-diesel, we could plant more human consumption grade foods. It’s not a “Who can make a better car” contest. It’s a “Who can make a more practical automobile that does less an impact on our future” contest.

  • John

    How can this be negative? Why the comments? Kids getting great, real-world engineering experience and even pushing some established companies in the process. Great job guys!

  • John

    How can this be negative? Why the comments? Kids getting great, real-world engineering experience and even pushing some established companies in the process. Great job guys!

  • “Why the negativity?” Precisely because it’s easier to snipe at people trying to achieve something than it is to actually achieve something. Go back to eating cheesy poofs, naysayers.

  • “Why the negativity?” Precisely because it’s easier to snipe at people trying to achieve something than it is to actually achieve something. Go back to eating cheesy poofs, naysayers.

  • Martin

    Problem is that K1 Attack is not designed to carry this much weight. I know the guy who designed it and as European I have good knowledge about diesel engines. This is really bad idea. Maybe in straight line this can work but in curves? No way – it will be just piece of junk.

    Europeans have completely different problem, car manufacturers here put diesels to everything because some people think that diesel means necessary low running costs.

    Turbocharged gasoline engine with electrical engine to compensate accelerating is in city more economical (that’s why all European car manufacturers put lately turbocharged gas engines into city cars).

    If I wanted state of the art design I would build E100 or E85 bioethanol engine, maybe with turbocharger, and electrical engine. Bioethanol has more energy in one liter than gas which means smaller engine, better fuel economy and it’s from renewable resource.

    In USA you maybe don’t know it but there is whole bunch of manufacturers that make bio engines – for example Volvo with 1.8 and 2.5 turbo E85 engines (which are even capable of combustion of regular gas).

  • Martin

    Problem is that K1 Attack is not designed to carry this much weight. I know the guy who designed it and as European I have good knowledge about diesel engines. This is really bad idea. Maybe in straight line this can work but in curves? No way – it will be just piece of junk.

    Europeans have completely different problem, car manufacturers here put diesels to everything because some people think that diesel means necessary low running costs.

    Turbocharged gasoline engine with electrical engine to compensate accelerating is in city more economical (that’s why all European car manufacturers put lately turbocharged gas engines into city cars).

    If I wanted state of the art design I would build E100 or E85 bioethanol engine, maybe with turbocharger, and electrical engine. Bioethanol has more energy in one liter than gas which means smaller engine, better fuel economy and it’s from renewable resource.

    In USA you maybe don’t know it but there is whole bunch of manufacturers that make bio engines – for example Volvo with 1.8 and 2.5 turbo E85 engines (which are even capable of combustion of regular gas).

  • Martin

    Well I forgot to mention hydrogen but that’s old story. I personally have Mazda 6 2.0 that can go in city 75 MPG at night (low traffic). On highway at 85 MPH I get only 45 MPG but still good. That’s my old work car. As personal car I have Volvo C30 1.8 FF (E85) just for city cruising and with cruise control I have 60 MPG and E85 costs half the price of gas.

    My father has a diesel and it has its advantages but it all depends on you driving style. I can be more aggressive with diesel and still get good fuel economy. But diesel cars are more expensive to buy, fuel itself is more expensive even though it’s less burdened by regulation fees, they are noisier so they create more noise pollution and finally they are more expensive to service – you have to change parts more often, they are more stressed, etc.

    So we have a little helper. If you drive more than 50 thousand kilometers per year and it’s mostly outside city you should buy a diesel. Because just purchase cost of diesel will be paid off after something like 100 thousand kilometers and better fuel economy is most significant at mid speeds. At lower speeds increased weight is just too big difference and diesel cars lose to gas powered ones. And transmissions are not set up for high speeds so you will easily catch up with gas engines above 85 MPH.

    I know that bioethanol is not future but you are simply jumping the gun. You (Americans) didn’t give a shit about consumption for years and now instead of adopting new technologies that are ready for market you want to skip to technologies that aren’t even developed yet. Gas in Europe costs something like 2 times more than in USA or Japan. That forced European car manufacturers to make more economical cars, to make diesel cars, to build first serial produced hydrogen cars, to research renewable alternatives for fossil fuels. In 50′ Mercedes Benz started to use diesel engines in personal cars. In 1995 more than 50% of cars sold on european markets are diesel. Nowadays some cars are sold with 90% of diesels and those aren’t some trucks but sedans and coupes. And we already have/are building facilities for LPG, CNG, E85 and Hydrogen. My father had first LPG car in ’96.

    Most European car manufacturers think that capabilities of gas and diesel engines have not been exhausted and that it’s worth it to explore it further. Now we can make 2.0 liter engine with 200 BHP and 45 MPG. Add turbocharger and it’s even better. In my country government is already forbidding to build new solar/wind/… power plants in some regions because they make electricity distribution network unstable and prone to failure. You can’t even imagine how big power requirements will plug-in hybrids have – how many (nuclear) power plants will have to be build and how destructive for economy power distribution network failures will become.

    I like lot of the ideas but I think that USA is rushing from one disaster to another.

    On a side note, Prius 2010 is ready to become plug-in hybrid. The car (at least in European version) has everything needed to be converted to plug-in – connector for additional batteries and mode that allows it to run just on batteries (no starting engine to recharge them). It’s considerably cheaper than Volt or other crazy machines in process of creation and you can still start the engine in a case of power distribution network failure.

  • Martin

    Well I forgot to mention hydrogen but that’s old story. I personally have Mazda 6 2.0 that can go in city 75 MPG at night (low traffic). On highway at 85 MPH I get only 45 MPG but still good. That’s my old work car. As personal car I have Volvo C30 1.8 FF (E85) just for city cruising and with cruise control I have 60 MPG and E85 costs half the price of gas.

    My father has a diesel and it has its advantages but it all depends on you driving style. I can be more aggressive with diesel and still get good fuel economy. But diesel cars are more expensive to buy, fuel itself is more expensive even though it’s less burdened by regulation fees, they are noisier so they create more noise pollution and finally they are more expensive to service – you have to change parts more often, they are more stressed, etc.

    So we have a little helper. If you drive more than 50 thousand kilometers per year and it’s mostly outside city you should buy a diesel. Because just purchase cost of diesel will be paid off after something like 100 thousand kilometers and better fuel economy is most significant at mid speeds. At lower speeds increased weight is just too big difference and diesel cars lose to gas powered ones. And transmissions are not set up for high speeds so you will easily catch up with gas engines above 85 MPH.

    I know that bioethanol is not future but you are simply jumping the gun. You (Americans) didn’t give a shit about consumption for years and now instead of adopting new technologies that are ready for market you want to skip to technologies that aren’t even developed yet. Gas in Europe costs something like 2 times more than in USA or Japan. That forced European car manufacturers to make more economical cars, to make diesel cars, to build first serial produced hydrogen cars, to research renewable alternatives for fossil fuels. In 50′ Mercedes Benz started to use diesel engines in personal cars. In 1995 more than 50% of cars sold on european markets are diesel. Nowadays some cars are sold with 90% of diesels and those aren’t some trucks but sedans and coupes. And we already have/are building facilities for LPG, CNG, E85 and Hydrogen. My father had first LPG car in ’96.

    Most European car manufacturers think that capabilities of gas and diesel engines have not been exhausted and that it’s worth it to explore it further. Now we can make 2.0 liter engine with 200 BHP and 45 MPG. Add turbocharger and it’s even better. In my country government is already forbidding to build new solar/wind/… power plants in some regions because they make electricity distribution network unstable and prone to failure. You can’t even imagine how big power requirements will plug-in hybrids have – how many (nuclear) power plants will have to be build and how destructive for economy power distribution network failures will become.

    I like lot of the ideas but I think that USA is rushing from one disaster to another.

    On a side note, Prius 2010 is ready to become plug-in hybrid. The car (at least in European version) has everything needed to be converted to plug-in – connector for additional batteries and mode that allows it to run just on batteries (no starting engine to recharge them). It’s considerably cheaper than Volt or other crazy machines in process of creation and you can still start the engine in a case of power distribution network failure.

  • John chew

    Refer to your comment on 11Nov 2009, Martin Says, can u pls explain what engine of your Mazda 6 that can run 75MPG & using what type of fuel?

    TQ

  • John chew

    Refer to your comment on 11Nov 2009, Martin Says, can u pls explain what engine of your Mazda 6 that can run 75MPG & using what type of fuel?

    TQ