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EcoCAR 2 Competition Announces Year Two Winner: Penn State University

May 24, 2013 - 2:14pm

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SAN DIEGO, Calif.  – EcoCAR 2: Plugging In to the Future today named Pennsylvania State University its Year Two winner at the EcoCAR 2013 Competition in San Diego. The 15 universities competing in EcoCAR 2 gathered in Yuma, Arizona last week for six days of rigorous vehicle testing and evaluation on drive quality and environmental impact at General Motors (GM) Desert Proving Ground.  From there, the competition moved to San Diego for a second round of judging by automotive industry experts.

EcoCAR 2 -- a three-year competition managed by Argonne National Laboratory and sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy, GM and 30 other government and industry leaders -- gives students the opportunity to gain real-world automotive engineering experience while striving to improve the environmental impact and energy efficiency of an already highly-efficient vehicle – the 2013 Chevrolet Malibu.

"The students competing in EcoCAR 2 are leading the way in designing and building the next generation of American-made automobiles that will reduce our dependence on oil and save families and businesses money at the pump,” said Assistant Secretary for the Energy Department’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy David Danielson. “I look forward to seeing these teams’ creative, super efficient vehicle designs in the final round of the competition next year in Washington, D.C.”

“Engineering advanced technologies that help reduce dependency on petroleum, improve fuel economy and reduce emissions is the key to developing sustainable transportation,” said John Haraf, GM’s director of hybrid vehicle integration and controls and one of GM’s EcoCAR leads.  “These students are the next generation of engineers who will help make that vision a reality, and their hard work and dedication throughout the first two years shows they can rise to the challenge.”

After a year creating and testing their eco-vehicle designs using technologies such as Hardware-In-the-Loop (HIL) simulation, teams spent the second year of EcoCAR 2 utilizing cutting-edge automotive engineering processes to redesign their Malibu vehicles. Argonne National Laboratory and GM engineers subjected these vehicles to extensive safety inspections and on-road evaluations, similar to those conducted on new GM vehicles. Each car was evaluated on reduced fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions as well as performance, utility and safety.

Pennsylvania State University was named this year’s winner after impressing inspectors and other judges representing various EcoCAR 2 sponsors with its ethanol (E85) plug-in hybrid electric vehicle.   The team was the first to pass safety and technical inspections, on-road safety evaluation as well as run all the competition dynamic events. 

While Penn State won the top prize, it wasn’t the only accomplished team at the Year Two Finals. The second place team, Cal State Los Angles excelled with its ethanol-fueled vehicle and was the first team to complete all the dynamic events.  The Ohio State University took third place overall after demonstrating its series-parallel hybrid electric vehicle.  The 15 university teams will now spend Year Three of EcoCAR 2 perfecting their designs before the competition finals in Washington, D.C., in May 2014.

Additional information about EcoCAR 2 is available on the competition website and blog, Flickr stream, Facebook page and Twitter stream. Sponsors contributing a total of $745 million in software, hardware and cash donations include: General Motors; U.S. Department of Energy; Natural Resources Canada; MathWorks; California Air Resources Board; Clean Cities; dSPACE, Inc.; A123 Systems, Inc.; Freescale; AVL Powertrain Engineering, Inc.; National Science Foundation; TRC, ETAS; Snap-On Tools; Magna Powertrain; Robert Bosch, LLC; CrossChasm; Siemens PLM Software; CD-adapco; Ventor CANtech, Inc.;  GKN; Sensors; New Eagle; Blackberry; QNX; Woodward; Gage; U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; Delphi Foundation; Caterpillar; Ricardo; and Proterra.

About EcoCAR 2: Plugging In to the Future
EcoCAR 2: Plugging In to the Future is a three-year collegiate engineering program that builds on the successful 25-year history of Department of Energy advanced vehicle technology competitions by giving engineering students the chance to design and build advanced vehicles that demonstrate leading-edge, eco-friendly automotive technologies. General Motors provides each of the 15 competing teams with a 2013 Chevrolet Malibu, as well as vehicle components, seed money, technical mentoring and operational support. The U.S. Department of Energy and its research and development facility, Argonne National Laboratory, provide competition management, team evaluation and logistical support. Through this important public/private partnership, EcoCAR 2 provides invaluable experience and training to promising young minds entering the North American job market. EcoCAR 2 follows the widely acclaimed competition series EcoCAR: The NeXt Challenge.

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