In the 47-year-history of the Chevrolet Camaro, there have been countless college-age kids spending a ton of time getting under the hood and souping 'em up. Now, General Motors is adding a twist to the concept by donating 16 Camaros for the EcoCar challenge that puts university teams together to wring out better fuel-efficiency out of various vehicles. No word on whether there will be donuts on anyone's lawn, as suggested by 80's punks the Dead Milkmen, but the idea's never a bad one.

EcoCar3 will feature 16 teams such as Arizona State, Penn State, Ontario's University of Waterloo and, of course, Detroit's Wayne State University. They'll spend the next four years "[reducing] environmental impact, while maintaining the muscle and performance expected from this iconic American car," as the EcoCar organizers say. The goal is to maintain body design and safety standards while boosting efficiency and lowering emissions, but the actual process is far more complicated than that description suggests. The California Air Resources Board (CARB) and Bosch are among the sponsors of the contest, which is also put on by the US Department of Energy and managed by Argonne National Laboratory.

Penn State won Year Two of the three-year EcoCar 2 competition with its E85 plug-in hybrid electric vehicle converted out of a Chevy Malibu. The grand-prize winner of EcoCar2 will be announced in June. Check out the EcoCar3 website and see the announcement video below for more details.



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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 22 Comments
      carguy1701
      • 1 Day Ago
      So whose neighbors are they going to run over?
      HVH20
      • 1 Day Ago
      According to internet trolls, I'd tesla sponsored thus contest it would be the best thing since sliced bread. However I don't see then stepping to the plate with vehicles, motors, or even batteries. Let's all bash GM for helping advance or universities.
        Joeviocoe
        • 1 Day Ago
        @HVH20
        I don't think people are adverse to GM holding eco competitions. Just that the "camaro" is a ridiculous car to start with. It shows how little GM really cares about this. If they were serious, they would not be trying to polish a turd of inefficiency. It shows that GM thinks that efficiency is something that can be 'bolted on" instead of working from the ground up.
          HVH20
          • 1 Day Ago
          @Joeviocoe
          Unfortunately most people don't want a econobox, so I see these as mass appeal type vehicles with compromises for all out efficiency. Who knows, they might even re-invent the flow tie :)
          mustang_sallad
          • 1 Day Ago
          @Joeviocoe
          Yes, the Volt's powertrain was just bolted on... Trust me, these students will be tearing up the insides of these Camaros and putting some exciting stuff under that massive hood.
      Spec
      • 1 Day Ago
      Nice Dead Milkmen reference.
      David Murray
      • 1 Day Ago
      The best way to achieve this would be with a PHEV design. Give it 20+ electric miles of range, but keep a decent sized gas engine for the longer trips and for "sport mode." After all, just because somebody drives a Camaro every day does not mean they are going to be wanting to drag race in it every day on their way back and forth to work. A PHEV system is the best of both worlds. And for anyone who laughs at that idea, several high performance sports cars have already done this successfully. Just to name a few: Porche Panamera, Fisker Karma, and BMW i8.
      2 wheeled menace
      • 7 Months Ago
      Oh, a greenwashing contest.... how cute!
        mustang_sallad
        • 1 Day Ago
        @2 wheeled menace
        Are you kidding? The EcoCar competitions breed some of the world's best alternative powertrain engineers, many of whom go to on to make major contributions to the production vehicles we're all following so closely. GM uses this as a very successful recruiting and training program. How cute indeed!
        2 wheeled menace
        • 1 Day Ago
        @2 wheeled menace
        Maybe they use it to recruit talent, but they don't particularly use it. Every aerodynamic and ground breaking design they have put together has been scrapped..
          danfred311
          • 1 Day Ago
          @2 wheeled menace
          Not thin air. Out of smelly gas. Mustang, you only think it's a good competition because you are ignorant and don't know any better.
          mustang_sallad
          • 1 Day Ago
          @2 wheeled menace
          No i think it's a good competition because I work in the industry, know many very bright people who work in the industry (specifically building and selling plugin vehicles and supporting services and/or components) who went through previous iterations of this competition, and I myself went through a similar competition. What have you accomplished to put more plugin vehicles on the road?
          mustang_sallad
          • 1 Day Ago
          @2 wheeled menace
          of course they use it, have you heard of the Volt? Do you think things like that come out of thin air? You need a lot of engineers who know a thing or two about electric powertrains, and a great way to accumulate those is to support universities in a competitive environment with a very open canvas. These student designs might not turn into mass-produced vehicles (no kidding eh?) but you're crazy if you think supporting hundreds of enthusiastic engineering students across the continent in an alternative powertrain competition is a bad idea.
      HVH20
      • 1 Day Ago
      I hope the lessons learned from this contest go into the next gen camaro. AWD phev sports car available to the everyday man will be awesome
      danfred311
      • 7 Months Ago
      that 'ecocar' competitionn is such bs. nothing eco about it. just douche GM promoting one of their murica vehicles with lies and the stupid universities willingly taking part in the lie.
      danfred311
      • 7 Months Ago
      that 'ecocar' competitionn is such bs. nothing eco about it. just douche GM promoting one of their murica vehicles with lies and the stupid universities willingly taking part in the lie.
        mustang_sallad
        • 1 Day Ago
        @danfred311
        See my comment above - the university students participating in these competitions learn how to actually build the plug-in vehicles you pine after so dearly, and go on to actually contribute to the industry, rather than just posting negative comments on the internet day after day.
          danfred311
          • 1 Day Ago
          @mustang_sallad
          hehe, clueless. I'm pining after a chevy volt? and ELR? and pigs fly? stick around in silence for a few months and you'll see there is more than your current ignorance of watching 'foot'ball and nascar.
        Jon
        • 1 Day Ago
        @danfred311
        Cute comment from an armchair engineer. These students actually build something and learn from it then go on to work for companies that build and sell real cars. Enjoy the sidelines.
          mustang_sallad
          • 1 Day Ago
          @Jon
          If you bothered to look up previous Ecocar competitions, you'd realize that these students will be doing a hell of a lot more than adding a few mpg!! Not every student needs to learn how to make a hyper efficient SuperMileage car, aerodynamics is important, but sometimes its good to just focus on the powertrain if learning is your priority. When these students get hired on to an automaker, they'll be teamed up with other engineers who are specialized in making their cars as slippery as possible.
          Joeviocoe
          • 1 Day Ago
          @Jon
          It would be nice if students learned how to make real efficient cars. Rather, this is teaching them that a few mpg here or there is "good enough" for green washing. The very idea of a Camaro... is screaming inefficiency.
          danfred311
          • 1 Day Ago
          @Jon
          You mean like the ELR?
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