ITD News
Associated Press
News Link

UI truck engineers to demonstrate their products

Prepares for National Finale Competition June 9

MOSCOW – The University of Idaho's “Summit,” the world’s first “triple hybrid vehicle,” and “Buf,” its mud-eating, hauling monster truck, are in the act again.

The pair were to be demonstrated to the dean of the College of Engineering at noon (PST) today (Friday, March 12) in front of the Janssen Engineering Building on the UI campus. Dean David Thompson will put his own foot to the pedals for a "test drive."

Summit is a student-converted Ford Explorer that runs on gasoline, electricity and stored hydraulic power – no batteries. It's been redesigned to use less energy than conventional Explorers and to reduce emissions. The engine is modified for improved efficiency and runs on 85 percent ethanol, helping reduce greenhouse gases.

Buf, the tow vehicle, is in the garage next to Wholesale Hydraulics, in the Fountain Business Park. This truck is the result of community-donated services and student labors of love. When the student team drives the vehicles cross-country to Detroit early in June, it plans to stop and talk to media, and show off the "trucks that a community built," say the team members. The trucks also will be displayed at the April 30 Engineering Design EXPO at UI.

The student team has been part of the three-year Ford competition and two years of Chevy challenges to re-engineer a conventional SUV into a lower-emissions vehicle with at least 25 percent higher fuel economy – all without sacrificing performance, utility, safety and affordability.

The Summit won a second place for “telematics” or best use of technology at last year's national FutureTruck competition. This June 9-17, UI's FutureTruck will join entries from 14 other universities at Ford’s Michigan Proving Grounds for the finale contest. See for details.

"When this last competition ends, the team will concentrate on applying clean vehicle technologies to the Northwest transportation sector," said Frank Albrecht, staff adviser to the advanced vehicle concepts team.

"We are starting with a feasibility study to determine the economic, technologic and social impacts of applying hybrid technology to Latah County garbage trucks."

This year's team members are 70-some strong with seven student leaders. The leaders are:

Greg Frankamp, senior design, thermal control, Boise; Fred Jessup, electronics and modeling group leader, Grangeville; Richard Statler, team president, Moscow; Brant Osiensky, powertrain group leader, Moscow; Jeremy Forbes, team vice president, Mountain Home; Brad Watson, accessories group leader, Parma; Tom Coburn, hydraulics leader, Pocatello; Cristy Izatt, team public relations, Post Falls; Michael Briggs, telematics group leader, Claremont, Calif.