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EcoCAR 3 Pushes the Vehicle Efficiency Envelope

April 25, 2014 - 1:58pm

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EcoCAR 3 Pushes the Vehicle Efficiency Envelope

On April 24, 2014, the Department of Energy’s Vehicle Technologies Office announced its continuing partnership with Argonne National Laboratory and General Motors as we rev up the EcoCAR 3 competition.  EcoCAR 3 challenges students nationwide to design, build and optimize eco-friendly powertrains over the course of the next four years.

Sixteen universities will rebuild their own Chevrolet Camaro with increased energy efficiency and lower environmental impact while seeking to maintain the performance and consumer acceptability of this iconic American car.

The engineering challenges will be complex and the competition will be fierce. To bring their eco-designs to life, teams will use the latest engineering tools and advanced vehicle technologies, follow a real-world vehicle development process and gain valuable knowledge and experience from top industry mentors. Teams will also recruit students across multiple disciplines to imitate the automotive industry environment, including mechanical, electrical and computer software engineering, as well as communication, marketing and project management.

In the face of increasing global competition, the North American auto industry recognizes the critical need for trained graduates across multiple disciplines. EcoCAR 3 is preparing the next generation of engineers who understand the multi-faceted process of global vehicle development and the collaboration required to combat transportation and energy-related challenges.

For more than 25 years, the Department of Energy has sponsored 10 Advanced Vehicle Technology Competitions (AVTC) series in partnership with the North American auto industry. Since launching the student AVTC program in 1988, more than 16,500 students have received an invaluable, real-world, hands-on engineering experience by designing and building next-generation vehicles.

Leveraging key public-private partnerships, previous competitions such as EcoCAR: The NeXt Challenge and EcoCAR 2: Plugging In to the Future, have educated the general public, K-12 students, and most importantly college graduates who have become leaders in academia, industry, and governmental organizations.

Each one of the AVTCs has had its own unique focus. In the past, teams have worked with specific fuels, large SUV vehicle platforms, and small crossover vehicle platforms –each of which have presented their own challenges.  EcoCAR 3 has similar challenges that were introduced in EcoCAR 1 and 2, such as energy storage design and integration and controls systems development using Hardware-In-the-Loop testing platforms.  However, new to this competition, EcoCAR 3 will push teams to also consider cost and explore innovation in their designs.

The following 16 teams were chosen based on their representation of today’s shifting engineering educational requirements: University of Alabama (Tuscaloosa, Ala.), Arizona State University (Phoenix), California State University, Los Angeles (Los Angeles), Colorado State University (Fort Collins, Colo.), Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (Daytona Beach, Fla.), Georgia Institute of Technology (Atlanta, Ga.),  McMaster University (Hamilton, Ontario, Canada), Mississippi State University (Starkville, Miss.), The Ohio State University (Columbus, Ohio), Pennsylvania State University (University Park, Penn.), University of Tennessee, Knoxville (Knoxville, Tenn.), Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Blacksburg, Va.), University of Washington (Seattle), University of Waterloo (Waterloo, Ontario, Canada), Wayne State University (Detroit) and West Virginia University (Morgantown, W.Va.).

Additional sponsors joining the U.S. Department of Energy and General Motors include: MathWorks; California Air Resources Board; Freescale; Clean Cities; AVL Powertrain Engineering; Bosch; ETAS; dSPACE; Snap-On; Siemens; GKN Driveline; Transportation Research Center; Enerdel; Proterra; Ricardo and A123 Systems.

Watch the competition unfold as these students fire on all cylinders and compete in EcoCAR 3! Receive competition updates and watch team videos at EcoCAR3.org or check out our photos on Flickr. We look forward to seeing the new and innovative designs that students bring to this challenge and know they will find a way to exceed even our highest expectations.

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