The coolest school in the world just completed a project to build a 600 hp hybrid Honda Civic rally car.
What do you get when you combine a top-notch university, technical and financial support from Honda, and 19 highly motivated graduate students? A 600 horsepower hybrid Honda Civic rally car, naturally.
It took a team of graduate students at Clemson University 2 years to complete their hybrid rally car project. Although their final product looks like the mad design from a tuner garage, the school’s International Center for Automotive Research does some real world-class research on cutting-edge technology. Stuff like autonomous cars and alternative fuels are right up their wheelhouse.
This particular project, dubbed “Deep Orange 9”, is a little more exciting than most of the school’s research. The idea here was to make a rallycross vehicle that was vastly more fuel efficient than a regular rally car but sacrificed none of the performance. And it looks like they succeeded.
The University team started with a current-gen Honda Civic Chassis and then built their design from the ground up. Instead of the 2.0-L 4-cylinder engine being in the front as on a regular Civic, it’s in the middle-rear just behind the driver’s seat. It’s also been supercharged to produce 400 hp while also powering the rear wheels.
In the front there’s a battery and an electric motor powering the front wheels, providing an additional 200 hp. Combined, the new hybrid powertrain puts out 600 horses and gives Orange 9 a zero to sixty time of just 2 seconds.
But they also wanted this to be a fuel efficient vehicle, so they included regenerative brakes and a means of restoring power lost through the wheels. The whole thing is 30% more fuel efficient than most rallycross cars, which is an astounding jump when you consider it still has 600 hp.
We haven’t seen the Deep Orange 9 in action, but we’re very eager to see how it compares to conventional rally cars on in a real rally race.