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BYU's Y-Brid car finishes second in automotive challenge

By Andrea Whatcott

Deseret News

Published: Saturday, May 14 2011 11:39 p.m. MDT

BYU's "Y-brid" car, which was built almost entirely from scratch, can go from 0 to 60 mph in about three seconds.

Jaren Wilkey, BYU

Flashes of blue could be seen streaking down the New Hampshire Speedway during an international competition held May 1-4.

The bright blue car built by the 14-member BYU engineering team took second place in the Society of Automotive Engineers Formula International Hybrid challenge.

The Dartmouth sponsored competition required participants to engage in six task categories. The scores from each category were combined to determine the overall winner.

In the 22-kilometer endurance race and the business plan presentation, the BYU team took first, which boosted the team's final score, putting it behind Texas A&M.

As part of a Capstone course, which spanned two semesters, engineer students worked from 7-10 a.m. each day, as well as some nights and weekends, to design and build the "Y-brid" car, almost entirely from scratch.

"Each individual member of the team had a portion of the car they were assigned to design, and they were able to take ownership of that part," said Tim Luskin, student team captain who was in charge of coordinating the work and design process.

The design of the small vehicle allowed it to achieve 60 mph in about three seconds. The car used gasoline and battery power, which allowed it to reach close to 42 miles per gallon.

Just two weeks before the competition, the team came up against a small scare when a 2-year-old student-made part experienced fatigue failure.

However, according to Luskin, the team was able to purchase and then modify a replacement part and had the car up and running again in just a few days.

While next year's team will have 16 members, the project has already piqued the interest of more than 60 engineering students.

"It's a great project ,and not only were we able to build the car and do well in the competition, but it prepares us students to go out in the world and be innovative in building new products, whether its cars or other things," Luskin said.

EMAIL: awhatcott@desnews.com

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