CSU professor selected for prestigious automotive engineering fellowship

Note to Reporters: A photo of Thomas Bradley is available with this release at news.colostate.edu.

A Colorado State University professor has received a prestigious U.S. Department of Energy fellowship for his contributions to the Advanced Vehicle Technology Competitions, also known as the EcoCAR 2 challenge.

Thomas Bradley, a professor of mechanical engineering and advisor to CSU’s EcoCAR 2 team, was selected for the agency’s Applied Automotive Engineering Fellowship. Bradley also received a $10,000 grant that can be used for CSU’s Vehicle Innovation Team.

The approximately 40 undergraduate and graduate students are designing and building a Fuel Cell Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (FCPHEV) that operates on compressed hydrogen gas and electricity. It uses no gasoline.

As part of the fellowship, Bradley also will create a module of self-taught, online material for the AVTC’s national Applied Automotive Engineering Curriculum Project. His module focuses on well-to-wheel environmental impact of vehicle operation.

The curriculum project is designed to leverage expertise of EcoCAR 2 faculty advisors to create a body of practical automotive engineering knowledge garnered through hands-on vehicle competitions.

The EcoCAR 2 competition challenges 15 universities across North America to reduce the environmental impact of a Chevrolet Malibu without compromising performance, safety and consumer acceptability.

Bradley’s work and that of other award recipients will be available to teams as a means to ease the burden on faculty who are faced with a high student turnover on EcoCAR teams. The goal is that this storehouse of knowledge will help future CSU engineering students who join the University’s AVTC program hit the ground running.

“EcoCAR 2 is an important component of the College of Engineering’s senior design program,” said Bradley. “EcoCAR 2 provides world-class engineering experiences for our students and this grant will allow us to share our experience with other automotive and energy engineering programs across the U.S. and Canada.”

Sponsored by General Motors and the U.S. Department of Energy, EcoCAR 2 requires students to explore a variety of powertrain architectures for electric drive vehicles.

CSU’s vehicle emits clean water, which is produced by a reaction between fuel cells, hydrogen, oxygen and electricity for propulsion. Consumers can charge their vehicles at home or work for short daily commutes (less than 50 miles) or fill up on hydrogen for trips that exceed 200 miles.

This is the third and final year of the competition. Over the next several months, the CSU students will refine the vehicle architecture and make it “showroom” ready.