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In early October, students, faculty and community members banded together to kick off the third year of Penn State EcoCAR and to celebrate National Alternative Fuel Vehicle Day Odyssey, aka Odyssey Day. October is National Energy Awareness Month, so it was the perfect time for the event.

The event was located outside the Larson Transportation Institute on the Penn State campus and highlighted advanced vehicle technologies and alternative fuel vehicles. The Penn State EcoCAR team hosted one of three Odyssey Day events in the state of Pennsylvania. The other two Pennsylvania events were hosted by Philadelphia Clean Cities and Pittsburgh Clean Cities coalitions.

Alongside Penn State’s B20 biodiesel extended-range electric EcoCAR, the Penn State Eco-Marathon team showcased their hydrogen fueled competition vehicle. Penn State EcoCAR worked with Clean Cities of Philadelphia to bring the world’s only propane-powered Dodge Charger all the way from North Carolina for Odyssey Day. TransTech Energy, Inc. made the 400-mile drive to Penn State only on propane!

The propane-powered car from TransTech Energy, Inc.

At the Year Three Kickoff and Odyssey Day event, State College Mayor Elizabeth Goreham praised EcoCAR for bringing together government, industry and academia to create real solutions to today’s automotive and environmental issues. During her speech, she enthusiastically told the crowd about her commitment to the Penn State EcoCAR team in future alternative fuel and advanced vehicle partnerships.  In addition, Dean of Engineering Dr. David Wormley spoke about the impact the Penn State EcoCAR engineers are making in greening the earth and working toward the future of automotive technologies.

State College Mayor Elizabeth Goreham speaking in support of Penn State's EcoCAR team

Members of the Penn State EcoCAR team presented to thirty students in grades eight, nine and ten about the EcoCAR competition as well as types of advanced technology vehicles and alternative fuels. To help them better understand another EcoCAR team’s vehicle architecture, the students built miniature hydrogen fuel cell cars…and then raced them down the hallways!

Students building their miniature hydrogen fuel cell cars

The event’s success is a testament to the Penn State EcoCAR team’s passion for fuel reduction, advanced vehicles and protecting the environment. Many community members said they are excited for what comes next from Penn State’s dedicated, hard-working group of students looking to the future of the automotive world!

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