Electric vehicles – EcoCar2: Plugging into the Future

Today, at the SAE 2011 World Congress in Detroit, Mich., U.S. Department of Energy’s Assistant Secretary for Policy and International Affairs, David Sandalow, announced the official launch of the EcoCar2: Plugging into the Future competition and the sixteen university teams that were selected to participate. EcoCar2 is a unique educational partnership between General Motors and the Department of Energy to help prepare future engineers for opportunities in clean energy and advanced vehicle industries. EcoCar2 is one piece of the Department’s broad commitment to educate the next generation of American innovators and support America’s transition to a more efficient transportation sector.

"The Department is proud to support a program that provides real-world, hands-on experience to the students who will lead the way in designing and building the next generation of automobiles," said U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu. "We look forward to seeing the exciting vehicle designs that these promising engineers of the future develop."

EcoCAR 2 is a unique three-year collegiate engineering competition that challenges teams to reduce the environmental impact of an existing vehicle without compromising performance, safety and consumer acceptability. The program’s combination of cutting-edge engineering practices, hands-on experience, exposure to world-class organizations and knowledge sharing in a competitive and team-oriented environment gives participating students a head start toward future job success. Participants will go on make contributions that will help keep the North American automotive industry competitive in the global market place, which is increasing adopting fuel efficient designs. EcoCAR 2 exemplifies the power of public/private partnerships in providing valuable experience and training to promising, young minds entering the job market.

EcoCAR2 includes both new teams and veterans to the Advanced Vehicle Technology Competitions, the schools that have been chosen to participate are:

California State University, Los Angeles (Los Angeles, CA)
Colorado State University (Fort Collins, CO)
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (Daytona Beach, FL)
Mississippi State University (Starkville, MS)
North Carolina State University (Raleigh, NC)
The Ohio State University (Columbus, OH)
Pennsylvania State University (University Park, PA)
Purdue University (West Lafayette, IN)
Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology (Terre Haute, IN)
University of Ontario Institute of Technology (Oshawa, Ontario, Canada)
University of Tennessee, Knoxville (Knoxville, TN)
University of Victoria (Victoria, British Columbia, Canada)
University of Washington (Seattle, WA)
University of Waterloo (Waterloo, Ontario, Canada)
Virginia Tech (Blacksburg, VA)
Wayne State University (Detroit, MI)

These teams will explore a variety of powertrain architectures and follow a real-world engineering regimen modeled after GM’s Global Vehicle Development Process (GVDP). Each EcoCar2 team will utilize a Chevrolet Malibu, donated by General Motors, as the integration platform for their advanced vehicle design.

In addition to GM, partnerships with a number of other sponsors are helping make EcoCar2 possible. These include Natural Resources Canada, MathWorks, California Air Resources Board, Clean Cities, dSPACE, A123 Systems, Freescale Semiconductor, AVL Powertrain Engineering, Snap-On Tools, Robert Bosch, Siemens PLM, CD-Adapco and Vector CANtech. These sponsors provide students with access to hardware, software, training, and other resources that may be otherwise unavailable. By using real-world automotive engineering practices such as Model-Based Design, teams can choose from a number of different technologies to integrate into their vehicle.

For more information about the student engineering program, the participating schools or the competition sponsors, please visit EcoCAR2.org or the Inside the Green Garage blog.

EcoCAR 2 is a three-year competition that builds on the 23-year history of DOE advanced vehicle technology competitions by giving engineering students the chance to design and build advanced vehicles that demonstrate cutting-edge automotive technologies.

General Motors provides production vehicles, 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, technical and logistical support.

Through this important partnership, EcoCAR 2 aims to inspire and educate the next generation of automotive engineers and accelerate the development and demonstration of technologies that are of interest to the DOE and the automotive industry.