They started with the current Honda Civic sedan body and went from there. Extremely high performance and a reduction of emissions were the two main goals for the student engineers. It’s supposed to be as fast as current rallycross cars, and this Civic certainly doesn’t disappoint there. Zero to 60 mph arrives in 2 seconds through the help of a hybrid powertrain, according to the students. The rear axle handles the power from the 2.0-liter supercharged four cylinder engine, while the front axle gets turned courtesy of the electric motor. The engine sits in the middle of the car and makes just over 400 horsepower, and the electric motor supplies the additional 200 horsepower. It looks like the students could have been inspired by the new Acura NSX.
Regenerative brakes help keep the battery juiced up throughout races. As a whole, fuel economy is improved 30 percent due to the hybrid powertrain, but it’s still a race car. Good fuel economy and 600 horsepower usually don’t mix well, but this was a cool effort to bring a greener powertrain to racing.
The suspension is billed as semi-active, such that it easily adapts to the changing surfaces seen in rallycross. A four-wheel steering system was developed to help cars pivot better in the extremely tight turns often seen in rallycross. This electric system is also capable of capturing energy lost through the wheels, reducing emissions even further.
We have to admit, this thing looks pretty sweet. Student projects like these are the kind of thing we need more of.