Students build an award-winning hybrid racecar


May 22, 2012

Hybrid Blue, competing earlier this month in New Hampshire

Hybrid Blue, competing earlier this month in New Hampshire

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Last month we told you about a team of engineering students from Utah’s Brigham Young University (BYU), who were competing in a wall-climbing contest using a Batman-inspired system that they created. While they may not have won that competition, the university recently alerted us to another one of its student engineering teams that did take first place in another contest – in this case, they designed a very fast, very efficient hybrid racecar.

The car is known as Hybrid Blue, and was built by a group of 16 undergraduate students under the supervision of BYU’s Dr. Robert Todd. It came in first at the 2012 Formula Hybrid International Competition, held at the the New Hampshire Motor Speedway earlier this month.

Hybrid Blue produces 100 horsepower and 450 foot-pounds (610 Nm) of torque. The parallel hybrid is propelled by both an E85 (ethanol-based) fuel-burning engine, and an electric motor that is powered by a 72-volt lithium-polymer battery pack. It can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph (96.5 km/h) in approximately three seconds.

In the course of the event, Hybrid Blue underwent a mechanical inspection, and competed against entries from 40 other universities in a record-setting acceleration run, an endurance run, an autocross event and an agility race. In the 22-kilometer (13.7-mile) endurance run, it not only came in first, but also finished with fuel left over and 75 percent of a full charge still left on the battery.

This was the final project for the retiring Dr.Todd, and marked the first time that BYU has taken first place at the event since beginning to compete in 2009.

Hybrid Blue can be seen in action in the video below.

Source: Brigham Young University

About the Author
Ben Coxworth An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away. All articles by Ben Coxworth

I am not opposed to the hybrid concept but I think using electrical energy storage is the wrong way to go. Given the same amount of money I think a pneumatic or flywheel hybrid or just ICE at the same displacement would have been faster.


BYU tied for first place with Canada's Universite de Sherbrooke.

Catha Lamm

Your flywheel or pneumatic solution would probably be a bit flat after you'd parked overnight. Electricity is easier to store for long periods.

Dave Cross

Slowburn, what is an ICE of similar displacement mean? After I have a couple of beers I also think pneumatic or flywheel is the way to go.


"This was the final project for the retiring Dr.Todd"

Congrats Dr. Todd! Nice way to go out!


re; katgod

ICE = Internal Combustion Engine "at the same displacement" = Using the same sized ICE engine. ..........................................................................................................................

re; Dave Cross

Granted the flywheel will self-discharge faster than batteries but it will charge faster without the risk of explosion and fire and its lower cost and longer life will more than pay for the energy loss. My pneumatic solution includes waste heat recovery and a tank that doesn't leak air at near the rate batteries self-discharge.


Being from BYU, they should do a bit more streamling and go to Bonneville.

If nothing else, they can go for "Time-Slip only" and define their own record.

USFRA doesn't require pre-registration, they just give a discount for it.

Tech should not be too bad as a cart- especially since the engine is to the rear.

Weight at Bonneville is good- traction for speed is what you want. Acceleration at this level is not so important.

Lastly, the short course will get more runs in a day for anyone who's interested.

The long course can sometimes just give just 1-2 runs a day.

This would be a short course unit anyway- sub-200mph.


Good going guys. If everyone used this kind of technology in our cars the oil companies can raise gas prices to $20 A GALLON.


re; Griffin

Define their own record = Unable to compete with whats already there.

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