Aug 23, 2011

OTREC has teamed up with Portland-based Green Lite Motors to bring a 100 mile-per-gallon vehicle closer to market. OTREC researchers at the Oregon Institute of Technology will evaluate and improve the performance of the two-seat vehicle.

The project grows out of a commercialization grant from the Oregon Built Environment & Sustainable Technologies Center, or Oregon BEST. Oregon Tech researchers built a prototype model for Green Lite Motors under that grant.

"This is going to take it from a completed prototype to a refined drive system,” said Tim Miller, president and CEO of Green Lite Motors. “They’ll test the performance and efficiency of the hybrid drive system and we’ll be able to refine the software and other things that control the system and optimize its performance.”

The Oregon Tech team built a three-wheeled prototype vehicle based on the Suzuki Burgman 650 scooter platform. “It combines the best of several things,” Miller said. “You get the full enclosure and safety you have in a car but with the nimbleness and ease of parking of a motorcycle.”

Although researchers can adapt some of the auto industry’s testing methods, others don’t apply very well for such an unusual vehicle, said Oregon Tech Associate Professor James Long, the project’s principal investigator. “There aren’t many vehicles out there of this type, so we’ll be...

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