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After 20 years, OSUís Center for Automotive Resarch leads way in transportation technology

The Ohio State University Center for Automotive Research celebrates its 20th anniversary this week with a day-long seminar and celebration that will culminate in the unveiling of  blueprints for CAR’s expansion -- and the center’s roadmap for the next 20 years.

It's been a long, fruitful journey so far.

“We’ve grown from (virtually) nothing to a $7-million operation, and we expect to keep growing,” says David Emerling, industry collaboration director for the program.

CAR, an interdisciplinary research center within OSU’s College of Engineering, was founded 20 years ago with funds raised by OSU’s managing interest in the Transportation Research Center in Marysville (TRC Inc. is owned by Honda, which chartered the university to run the operation).

By the mid-90s, CAR had its own campus facility and today, its 35,000 square-foot digs house engine and vehicle dynamometers; acoustics labs, intelligent and autonomous vehicle laboratories; combustion research facilities; hybrid-electric propulsion, fuel cell and electrochemical energy storage facilities.

 “In our last ten years we’ve been very entrenched in battery research,” Emerling says. Leading the electric-race car pack since the 1990s, CAR’s engineering team set the 2010 land-speed record with the Venturi “Buckeye Bullet,”  the first fuel-cell vehicle to reach 300 mph.

The architectural studies to be unveiled at Friday’s ceremony are the initial steps in CAR’s expansion from a research center within the College of Engineering to the larger Transportation Research Institute of Ohio.
“We focus ourselves on all ground transportation, not just automotive,” says Emerling. With financial support from a $3-million Ohio Third Frontier grant and continued partnerships within the transportation industry in both Central Ohio and abroad, CAR’s progressive research encompasses everything from electric cars to heavy trucks, advanced electric propulsion to alternative fuels.

OSU CAR’s 20th anniversary begins Friday with three professional development seminars, a classic and specialty car and motorcycle sShow (during which visitors can test student-built prototype vehicles), followed by the unveiling of CAR’s future plans.

Source: David Emerling, CAR
Writer: Kitty McConnell
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