With a bio-diesel hybrid electric powertrain, a team of students from the University of Wisconsin-Madison won the 2002 FutureTruck competition, sponsored by the Ford Motor Co. and the Department of Energy (DOE).
The Wisconsin team won the FutureTruck title by lowering emissions and achieving a 25% increase in over-the-road fuel economy in a 2002 Ford Explorer, while maintaining the safety, performance and comfort levels of a consumer-grade SUV.
The Wisconsin students reduced the vehicle's greenhouse gas index by 50% and increased over-the-road fuel economy by 45%. The team reengineered components and used advanced materials such as an aluminum/steel hybrid frame and a titanium exhaust system.
Ford said seven of the 15 teams achieved better overall over-the-road fuel economy compared to the base 2002 Ford Explorer and two teams managed to exceed the base Explorers performance, while still using environmentally friendly powertrain systems.