Engineering Students Take EcoCAR Challenge
The U.S. Department of Energy is keen to see more environmental improvements in the auto industry, and is once again giving eager engineering students a chance to tackle the problem of creating environmentally friendly, commercially viable cars via its EcoCAR competition.
Announced in the spring at the SAE 2011 World Congress, EcoCAR 2: Plugging into the Future pits 15 university teams against each other in a three-year engineering competition to reduce the environmental impact of an existing vehicle without compromising performance, safety, or consumer acceptability. Winners are vying for $100,000 in cash prizes.
The teams will use a donated Chevrolet Malibu as the platform for their new powertrain designs. The first year of the competition will focus on vehicle simulation, powertrain testing, and the engineering trade-offs that occur in the early stages of design.
You can see a complete list of teams here.
EcoCAR is part of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy (EERE) program, and one of the agency’s Advanced Vehicle Technology Competitions (AVTC). The competition is sponsored by the DOE, General Motors, and several other corporate sponsors. Argonne National Laboratory manages the program.
The first EcoCAR event was launched in 2008. The teams had to design and build an advanced propulsion solution based on the California Air Resources Board (CARB) zero-emissions vehicle regulations. Virginia Tech won with an extended-range electric/ethanol vehicle. Ohio State University took second place, and the University of Waterloo (which designed a hydrogen fuel cell plug-in hybrid) came in third. All three teams are participating again this year.
You can watch the EcoCAR video announcement below:
Source: U.S. Department of Energy