Vehicles of the future: Canadian team takes top honours


This release is also available in French

OTTAWA -- A Canadian vision of the vehicle of the future has taken top honours at a North American competition in Detroit. A team of University of Waterloo engineering students -- the only Canadian team in the competition -- beat out 16 other top U.S. universities to win first place overall at Challenge X for their fuel-cell-powered vehicle design.

The team, sponsored by Natural Resources Canada and Hydrogenics Corporation, was the only one to use fuel cells for vehicle propulsion in their design to improve fuel economy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

"This is an incredible accomplishment, and I extend my warmest congratulations to these students for their innovative and award-winning vehicle design that uses the latest in hydrogen and fuel-cell technology," said the Honourable R. John Efford, Minister of Natural Resources Canada. "We can all share in their success as Canada continues to set new levels of achievement in greener automotive technologies that will be essential in building a cleaner energy future for Canada."

"The outstanding performance of the University of Waterloo is a feather in the cap for the Canadian hydrogen and fuel-cell industry," said Pierre Rivard, President and CEO of Hydrogenics Corporation. "The ability and skill of these students to develop a program so innovative is commendable, and to be recognized in the first year of the competition is a testament to the University of Waterloo Challenge X team. Congratulations!"

"It's very gratifying that our students have received these top awards," said Dr. Roydon Fraser, advisor for the University of Waterloo team and a professor of Mechanical Engineering. "Significant advances are being made in the reduction of vehicle greenhouse gas emissions, and the exciting solutions being explored by our students build on this momentum towards an even greener future."

"This is the ultimate made-in-Canada success story," said David Paterson, Vice President Corporate and Environmental Affairs, GM Canada. "Canadian students using Canadian technology on a Canadian-designed and-manufactured vehicle are shining on the North American stage. All of us at GM Canada salute the University of Waterloo team's major achievement, and we look forward to more success from these remarkable students in the years ahead."

The University of Waterloo team will receive a new 2005 Chevrolet Equinox and a total cash prize of US $19,500. In addition to winning first place overall in this first year of the Challenge X competition, the team also won awards in the following categories:

  • Outstanding Web Site;
  • Outstanding Outreach;
  • Freescale Semiconductor -- Silicon on the Move;
  • National Instruments Most Innovative Use of Virtual Instrumentation for Control Design and Simulation (third place);
  • The Mathworks Crossover to Model Based Design;
  • Best Project Initiation Approval Presentation;
  • Best Control Strategy Presentation;
  • Best Technical Presentation; and
  • Best Written Reports (third place).

Challenge X is a three-year competition sponsored by General Motors Corporation and the U.S. Department of Energy. It focuses on the re-engineering of a GM crossover sport utility vehicle. The four-day event at GM University, held from June 5 to 8, marked the end of the first year of the competition. Years two and three of the competition will be held at the end of the 2006 and 2007 academic years to showcase the teams' learning and vehicle development from year to year.

The Government of Canada's approach to climate change is focused on making the right choices for Canada. Half of every individual Canadian's greenhouse gas emissions come from driving. Initiatives such as Challenge X are important because they help reduce emissions and ensure that the actions taken today produce long-term results, while maintaining a strong and growing economy.

For additional information about the Challenge X competition, please visit and A high resolution photo of the University of Waterloo team is available in the NRCan News Room at

Source: Eurekalert & others

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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