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Honda joins Deep Orange

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Honda R&D Americas Inc. will be the co-sponsor for Deep Orange 11, a sustainability-focused concept vehicle to be conceived and designed by automotive engineering students at CU-ICAR — the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research.

Honda R&D Americas joins primary sponsor ExxonMobil, as well as other partners, to support automotive engineering graduate students for the two-year project. The goal is to develop an ultra-efficient, lightweight, highly durable mobility solution for the year 2035 and beyond, according to a news release. Deep Orange 11 emphasizes sustainability across the entire product lifecycle — from manufacturing and operation to reclamation and refurbishing in a circular economy model.

“Honda’s vision is to serve people worldwide with the joy of expanding their life’s potential. Since this is rooted in enabling a safe and sustainable society, we are excited to sponsor CU-ICAR’s pursuit of new and creative solutions to realize this important future,” Bill Post, chief engineer at Honda R&D Americas, said in the news release. “We look forward to supporting this team of next-generation automotive engineers as they search for new, sustainable mobility ideas.”

Honda R&D Americas is a returning Deep Orange partner after sponsoring Deep Orange 9, a high-performance next-generation rallycross race car with a fuel-efficient hybrid powertrain. By partnering with industry leaders such as Honda R&D Americas and ExxonMobil, students gain unique hands-on experience and expertise that lead to successful careers after graduation, the release said.

“At ExxonMobil, we’ve projected a significant increase in mobility needs by 2040 and consumers will expect reliable, affordable options that are more sustainable,” said Stuart Milne, venture manager, sustainable mobility, ExxonMobil Chemical Co. “Collaboration will be key to developing sustainable mobility solutions to meet that demand, and we’re excited about the innovations to come from our collaboration with Honda R&D Americas and the students at CU-ICAR,” he said in the release

Housed at CU-ICAR, Deep Orange is an innovative, project-based learning program focused on systems integration. Now in its 11th iteration, the program immerses students into the world of vehicle manufacturers and suppliers by engineering, building and testing a vehicle prototype from the ground up. Over two years, students gain experience in market analysis and branding, vehicle design, development, prototyping and production planning, the release said. 

Deep Orange 11 is led by Srikanth Pilla, Jenkins Endowed Professor of Automotive Engineering at Clemson University and director of the Clemson Composites Center.

“By collaborating directly with global industry leaders such as ExxonMobil and Honda R&D Americas, our students are uniquely empowered to create a truly sustainable concept with their clean-sheet approach to vehicle design, manufacture and operation,” Pilla said in the release. “Breaking the mold allows them to truly innovate around reducing environmental impacts by extending the lifetime of vehicles through easy refurbishing and predictive maintenance.”

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