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UI FutureTruck Showcases in Boise May 22

Prepares for Final Detroit Competition June 9

MOSCOW – The University of Idaho's FutureTruck, a student-converted Ford Explorer that runs on gasoline and electricity, and its hybrid tow truck, which captures and stores kinetic energy from braking, will be demonstrated next week in Boise.

They will be part of a "Hybrid Electric Vehicle Expo" from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, May 22, in the parking lot of the Boise State University Student Union Building on University Drive. The event, organized by the local chapter of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, is free and open to the public.

Commercial and custom vehicles, both private and state-owned, will be displayed. Among them will be the Toyota Prius and Honda Insight. Attendees may learn from the owners about maintenance, reliability and costs.

The Ford Explorer is a FutureTruck competition vehicle. Two years ago, Ford Motor Co. donated a 2002 Ford Explorer to 15 engineering schools in the country. UI's team was the only Northwest school to receive a vehicle. Each team was to re-engineer its truck to achieve lower emissions and at least 25 percent higher fuel economy, without sacrificing performance, utility, safety or affordability. UI modifications include a capacitor-based energy storage system, chemically preheated catalysts, reduced engine loads and a custom transfer case to transfer power.

The tow hybrid vehicle uses hydraulics, whereas the Explorer uses electricity. From community-donated services and materials, the modified F-350 is expected to use 25-35 percent less fuel than a comparable vehicle.

June 9-17, both vehicles and team members will join 14 other university teams at Ford‚s Michigan Proving Grounds in Detroit, Mich. for the final contest. See <> for details, or see <> for UI's efforts.

"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 have completed a feasibility study to determine the economic, technological and social impacts of applying hybrid technology to Latah County garbage trucks."

This year's team members are 70-some strong with the following student leaders:

GRANGEVILLE – Fred Jessup, electronics group leader;
HANSEN – Richard Statler, team president;
MOSCOW – Brant Osiensky, powertrain group leader;
MOUNTAIN HOME – Jeremy Forbes, team vice president;
PARMA – Brad Watson, accessories group leader;
POCATELLO – Tom Coburn, hydraulics leader;
POST FALLS – Cristy Izatt, public relations leader.

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