DETROIT — Wayne State University hopes a “parallel through-the-road” hybrid system will propel them to victory in “EcoCar 2: Plugging Into The Future,” a competition among 15 North American university teams to convert a gasoline-powered Chevrolet Malibu into a fully functional hybrid vehicle.

Wayne State’s Hybrid Warriors, the only Michigan team in the event, unveiled their hybrid vehicle design Wednesday at NextEnergy, the Detroit energy technology accelerator.

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The Wayne State design combines an internal combustion engine burning E-85 ethanol to drive the front wheels and two Remy electric motors and lithium-ion batteries to drive the rear wheels. The Malibu involved, donated by General Motors for the competition, will be on display through Thursday, April 19 at NextEnergy.

The competition is sponsored by GM and the U.S. Department of Energy, along with more than 20 other government and industry leaders. It’s intended to give students the opportunity to gain real world eco-friendly automotive engineering experience while striving to further improve the energy-efficiency of an already highly-efficient vehicle.

Much like the challenges facing automakers, EcoCAR 2 students must balance the challenge of increasing the vehicle’s energy efficiency and reducing the vehicle’s greenhouse gas emissions and fuel consumption — while maintaining the performance, safety and overall consumer acceptability of the original Malibu.

The Wayne State EcoCAR 2 team also announced a new garage location at the press conference. The garage, located in the College’s Engineering Technology building on the corner of Anthony Wayne Drive and Warren Avenue in Detroit, will allow students the necessary space to convert the vehicle.

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“Our students have been working for nearly a year to design the modifications necessary to convert a gasoline-powered production car into a fully-functional hybrid vehicle,” said Jerry Ku, associate professor, EcoCAR 2 faculty advisor and director of the Electric-drive Vehicle Engineering Graduate Program. “They chose PTTR architecture because it represents the best combination of vehicle performance, design creativity and meaningful learning opportunities.”

According to Ku, the team will receive the donated 2013 Malibu in June and then will rebuild based on the architecture and refine over the next two years.

“On behalf of the Wayne State University College of Engineering, I would like to applaud our students on their efforts in designing a hybrid vehicle for EcoCAR 2,” said College of Engineering Dean Farshad Fotouhi. “This competition gives our students an edge, providing them with hands-on experience that they can build upon in their professional careers. We are thrilled to be the only Michigan institution participating in this competition along with 15 other schools throughout North America, and thank all those involved for making this possible for our students.”

“The future in hybrid technology is happening now,” said Patrick Davis, program manager of DOE’s Vehicle Technologies Program. “It used to be that we were on the edge of this type of technology — now we are there and these students are attempting to take it even further.”

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For more information on Wayne State’s involvement in the competition, contact the team at or follow the team on Twitter or Facebook.