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Dartmouth's hybrid car rivalry attracts 21 teams

Jul 28, 2011   |   by Chris Woodyard   |   USA Today

In the past, it was enough to get college students who were budding automotive engineers to simply build cars and race them. Now, with the electric revolution in powertrains upon us, the intercollegiate rivalry has gone hybrid.

Last weekend, 21 teams turned out as Dartmouth College held its 5th annual Formula Hybrid Competition at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, N.H. The clear winner: Texas A&M.

The teams built cars and pitted them against each other, as you can see from the video above. They were limited to 250cc engines that had to be hybridized somehow. To make sure that the advantages of hybrids were well displayed, the course included not only the usual long straightaways, but some tight corners that would bring regenerative braking -- turning wasted brake energy into juice for the batteries—into play, says Doug Fraser, the research engineer who runs the competition.

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