The EcoCAR 2 competition recently wrapped up its first year by announcing Mississippi State University as the inaugural victor. The competition “is a three-year collegiate engineering competition and the only program of its kind.” Aiming to offer real-world experience for future engineers, EcoCAR2 consists of 15 universities across North America working to “reduce the environmental impact of a Chevrolet Malibu without compromising performance, safety and consumer acceptability.”
General Motors and the Department of Energy (DOE) developed the competition, which builds on a long history of the DOE’s Advanced Vehicle Technology Competitions (AVTC). The AVTC exemplifies the types of public/private partnerships that have yielded previous advances in technology. One of the aims is to prepare engineers for jobs in the United States. EcoCAR 2 challenges participants to consider a range of powertrain options revolving around electrified transmission.
The three year competition mimics the “Vehicle Development Process” and is based on General Motors’ program for design and implementation of new car development. Part of the goal over the three years is to improve efficiency and learn the specific process by which cars, and in particular electric vehicles, are refined so that engineers are ready to enter the marketplace upon completion.