Imagine creating a cool car concept for your school project. Badass, isn’t it? Well, guess what? These automotive engineering students from the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research (CU-ICAR) doesn’t have to visualize that as they have already built a monstrous 600-hp HondaCivic within two working years. Just wow.
Dubbed as ‘Deep Orange 9’, this what seems to be like the coolest project ever, is a next-generation rallycross race machine that embodies the combined qualities of performance, tough racing abilities, advanced technology, and exceptional handling and acceleration; all these great features while having a lightweight and sturdy steel structure. Take note, the Deep Orange 9 is equipped with a fuel-efficient hybrid powertrain.
This concept vehicle is a project sponsored by Honda R&D Americas Inc. (HRA) to challenge the students to come up with a car that can live up to the standards of rallycross racing. With that, the students had four primary goals in mind: enhance the fuel economy, lessen the emissions, complement rallycross car’s performance, and reduce total vehicle operating costs. The result? The 19 students did not disappoint the Japanese carmaker. Here’s how they pulled it off.
The geniuses redesigned the Honda Civic prototype and fitted it with a 2.0L engine, placed in the middle of the car, which is responsible for transporting 400 hp to the rear wheels. There’s also an electric motor placed under the hood, which delivers 200 hp to the front wheels, all coupled to a six-speed sequential gearbox, This hybrid rallycross machine also features regenerative brakes that allows the vehicle to perform with minimal maintenance all throughout the race. All in all, they were able to improve the fuel economy by 30 percent.
The electric drivetrain and internal combustion engine, on the other hand, made it possible for the feisty Honda Civic to boost from 0-97 km/h in just a matter of two seconds, which is a great record to compete with other rallycross cars. And mind you, the Deep Orange 9 can also run in a full electric mode. Confident.
Sharp turns are inevitable in rallycross that’s why the students made a four-wheel steering for fast cornering and better maneuverability. Semi-active suspension were also designed for the Deep Orange 9, so driving in changing surfaces won’t be much of a problem. Apart from different road conditions, rallycross also involves jump and jockeying. As such, the students created a novel packaging system, which can put up the mid-engine through the road hybrid powertrain layout and long travel suspension required in racing. This gave the hybrid Civic a high-strength steel structure.
This special car is also integrated with a virtual reality ride-long experience, so the people who watches the race can feel the presence of being on the digital front seat. What’s also great about this is that despite of being a performance car, students managed to reduce the hydrocarbon, carbon monoxide, and nitrogen oxide emissions. A proof that cars can be both aggressive and eco-friendly.
“Our program requires students to make highly technical decisions quickly while also keeping the top-level project goals such as safety, performance, customer usability and compressed deadlines in mind. Designing, building and testing a fully functional vehicle of this level gives our students the perspective, skills and hands-on experience that allows them to seamlessly transition into the workforce.”
Robert Prucka Kulwicki Endowed Professor in Motor Sports Engineering at CU-ICAR
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