A Parallel Hybrid-Electric Sport Utility Vehicle: FutureTruck 2002 Report uri icon



  • This final report details the development of the University of Idaho hybrid-electric sport utility vehicle and gives an overview of requirements, summarizes design features and illustrates research results. 

    The objectives of the University of Idaho FutureTruck project were to: 
    • Convert a 2002 Ford Explorer Sport Utility Vehicle from the stock condition into a parallel hybrid-electric vehicle for participation in the June 2002 FutureTruck competition.
    • Complete the development of software tools that are useful in designing, modeling, and in collecting real-time data from the vehicle. These tools will not only have benefit for the proposed FutureTruck project, but will also be made available on a national level to aid in the development of hybrid-electric vehicles. 
    • Organize and guide the student FutureTruck team similar to an actual company responsible for rapid development of clean vehicle technologies. The team structure will be multidisciplinary with representation from all aspects of new product development including design, engineering, manufacturing, marketing, economics, and public relations. Leadership techniques, management processes, and design principles will be emphasized. 
    • Educate industry and the public on the benefits of clean vehicle technologies and the outcomes of the project. The selected audience will include students, consumers, industry leaders, and policy makers. 

    The University of Idaho Advanced Vehicle Concepts Team (AVCT) successfully completed the development of a parallel, hybrid-electric sport utility vehicle. At the 2002 FutureTruck competition, the vehicle placed 7th overall among 15 teams, was one of only three vehicles to attain ultra-low emissions vehicle (ULEV) standards, placed 2nd in the acceleration event, and first in the trailer tow event. The team also won an award for the most innovative use of aluminum. 

    This success was the culmination of a yearlong effort by a multidisciplinary student team that followed business principles to optimize engineering, education, and evaluation outcomes. With a donation of $25,000 from National Instruments, the team developed a single system for hybrid control, diagnostics, data acquisition, telematics and entertainment. Additional donations helped fund telemetry equipment, heat reflective paint, low rolling resistant tires, original equipment manufacturer parts, team travel, and outreach activities. The team organized 10 public events and demonstrated clean vehicle technologies to students from junior high to college level. The demonstrations, besides creating public interest, also helped validate predictions from computer modeling. An analysis tool called SmartDesigned Vehicles (SDV), developed initially by David Alexander [1], had predicted the vehicle’s performance within 8 percent of dynamometer test results. Testing at the California Air Resources Board test facility during the FutureTruck 2002 competition verified the accuracy of SDV in predicting that the modified vehicle could achieve a 25 percent improvement in fuel economy while achieving ULEV standards and maintaining stock performance levels.

publication date

  • January 2003



  • hybrid vehicle; competition; modeling; education; emissions


report identifier

  • Report Budget Number KLK308