Penn State Intercom......August 8, 2002

Wattmuncher chews up
FutureTruck competitors

The Wattmuncher, a hybrid electric 2002 model Ford Explorer re-engineered by students of the Pennsylvania Transportation Institute won or placed in several categories in the recent FutureTruck Competition at Ford's Arizona Proving Ground in Yucca, Ariz.

Nearly 30 University students worked on the Wattmuncher with 14 individuals attending the challenge. Many students involved with this project are enrolled in a Hybrid Electric Vehicle course, while other students volunteer for the project. Contestants in the annual FutureTruck competition re-engineer a chosen vehicle into a low-emissions vehicle with at least 25 percent higher fuel economy, while keeping the same performance, utility, safety and affordability.

The University climbed from its ninth overall ranking in the 2001 competition to the fifth overall ranking in this year's competition. The Wattmuncher competed in every event at the competition and did particularly well in consumer acceptability and off-road performance.

Penn State won the award for Most Improved Team at the competition. Traditionally, this award is presented to the team that demonstrates the most improved overall performance over previous FutureTruck competitions. The team also won the Integrated Airflow and Emission Technology award, which is for the best-integrated design of the air induction and exhaust systems in the vehicles.

As in last year's competition, Penn State received second place in the Cisco Telematics Award challenge. The Cisco award honors excellence in systems and information management, meeting the needs of driver and passengers and the ability to transfer information to and from the vehicle via wireless methods.

Complete results of the FutureTruck 2002 Competition can be viewed on the organization's Web site at