Penn State at the Pittsburgh Auto Show

Thousands of car enthusiasts braved the blustery winter wind earlier this year to visit the Pittsburgh International Auto Show, an event that truly had something for everyone. Some hunted for the KidsZone to get their children intricate balloon animals and some searched for the best French fries, but others made their way to the Green Street area to learn more about ‘greener’ automotive options.

At the end of the long, green carpet in the midst of the latest hybrids, electric and alternative fuel vehicles, stood the Penn State EcoCAR team’s Green Street exhibit. Several engineers and outreach members spent the weekend explaining new technologies, answering questions and describing the EcoCAR competition.

Penn State team members were surprised by how much support they received, even in University of Pittsburgh territory! Many people who visited the exhibit were blown away that college students were capable of designing and implementing such complicated advanced vehicle technologies.

The Penn State team with their vehicle in Yuma, AZ

It was a rewarding experience for students to talk with visitors about Penn State’s vehicle architecture and its similarity with the Chevrolet Volt. With all the recent hype about the Volt, many people were already familiar with the type of extended-range electric vehicle that Penn State has. Countless individuals praised the car’s electric motor with a small backup biodiesel engine, and many predicted that the entire automotive industry will move in this direction soon.

Whether vehicles like Penn State’s EcoCAR will dominate the industry or not, it was encouraging to see the number of people interested in more environmentally friendly transportation. Throughout the weekend, people told the team their stories and explained why they’re making the decision to drive ‘green.’ If the Pittsburgh Auto Show is any indication, American drivers are ready for the vehicles in the EcoCAR competition to move from Green Street to every street!

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