You could say Oregon Institute of Technology's computer software program just got the green light.

OIT's computer software engineering students will help design software for Portland-based Green Lite Motors' motorcycle-sized, hybrid-electric vehicle's drive system components. They will spend the next year working on the project.

"When the driver puts on some throttle, our system decides, electric, internal combustion or a combination of both to get the highest fuel efficiency out of the system," said Jim Long, OIT associate professor of computer systems and engineering.

The idea

Long and mechanical engineering professor Hugh Currin already had worked with students on hybrid technology drive systems.

They were having problems getting their motors to work right because of their size. Then Long met Green Lite Motors CEO Tim Miller during a state Built Environment and Sustainable Technologies convention, which brings scientists and educators together to brainstorm.

"Tim just has the perfect platform vehicle for the project," Long said. "This is a smaller vehicle. It's lighter weight. The mechanics will be easier to deal with."

Battery level, speed, acceleration and deceleration will be factored into what will result in the vehicle's highest efficiency.