EcoCar 2: Plugging In to the Future is a three-year competition where college students try to make the most efficient modifications to a base vehicle – in this case a 2013 Chevrolet Malibu. The first year is spent emphasizing "engineering design though modeling and simulation to select and virtually test their plug-in hybrid electric vehicle architecture." Now that the deck work is over, the actual mods can get started. Fifteen schools are participating in the competition, which is the second three-year event of this type. The first was the Ecocar NeXT challenge, which Virginia Tech won with an E85-burning extended-range electric Equinox.
Parhaps you've noticed that there are only General Motors vehicles involved here. EcoCar 2 is co-sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy, GM and 25 other government and industry leaders. Last year, Virginia Tech managed to squeeze 81.9 miles per gallon gasoline equivalent out of their Equinox. We can't wait to see what the teams can do with their Malibus.
Student Teams Gather in Los Angeles to Compete for $100,000 in Prize Money,
15 Receive Keys to a 2013 Chevrolet Malibu for Eco-Reengineering
Los Angeles, Calif. (May 24, 2012) – EcoCAR 2: Plugging In to the Future today named Mississippi State University its Year One winner at the EcoCAR 2012 Competition in Los Angeles. The 15 universities competing in EcoCAR 2 gathered for six days of judged competition this week with $100,000 in prize money up for grabs. EcoCAR 2, a three-year competition sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), General Motors (GM) and 25 other government and industry leaders, gives students the opportunity to gain real-world, eco-friendly automotive engineering experience while striving to improve the energy efficiency of an already highly-efficient vehicle – the 2013 Chevrolet Malibu.
Year One of the competition series emphasized engineering design though modeling and simulation to select and virtually test their plug-in hybrid electric vehicle architecture. Teams also started developing their hybrid control strategy using hardware-in-the-loop (HIL) simulation tools and designing major vehicle subsystems, including hybrid powertrain, energy storage, and high-voltage electrical systems.
Throughout the competition events in Los Angeles, EcoCAR 2 teams put their designs to the test, giving presentations to industry and government professionals based on their mechanical, electrical, control and HIL strategies, project initiation approval, outreach and business plans, and trade show display.
"The design and simulation portion of this competition really challenges us to balance detailed engineering analysis with overall vehicle design trade-offs," said Matthew Doude, team leader for Mississippi. "We are excited to receive the keys to our 2013 Malibu and start implementing our series-parallel plug-in hybrid electric vehicle design."
Mississippi State University was named the Year One winner after impressing more than 100 judges representing various EcoCAR 2 sponsors with its series-parallel plug-in hybrid electric vehicle design. The team produced top tier design reports, won Best Facilities Inspection, Best Final Technical Report, Best Project Initiation Approval Presentation, Best Trade Show Evaluation, and Best Controls Presentation categories. The university started competing nine years ago and has since taken first place three times previously.
"Mississippi State University's students brought tremendous ingenuity and innovation to their vehicle designs that will help them launch successful careers as leaders in the clean energy field, ensure the United States leads in the global auto industry, and create an American economy that's built to last" said David Danielson, Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. "Competitions like EcoCAR2 support the Administration's all-of-the-above approach to energy by providing students with hands-on experience and training in fuel-efficient vehicle technologies that reduce America's dependence on foreign oil, protect our air and water, and save families and businesses money."
While Mississippi State won the top prize, it wasn't the only winning team at the Year One Finals. The eco-engineering teams participated in more than a dozen different events ranging from outreach to powertrain design as they competed for more than $100,000 in prize money. In addition, the second place team is The Ohio State and University of Waterloo took third place overall. Now that their vehicle architectures are finalized, the 15 teams also received the keys to the GM-donated 2013 Chevrolet Malibu they will spend the next two years rebuilding, testing and refining.
"Our goal is to provide students with the most realistic career experience, and we chose the 2013 Chevrolet Malibu for EcoCAR 2, as we believe it is a great platform to allow students to show us what they can do," said Kent Helfrich, executive director, electronic controls and software engineering, of General Motors. "The students are exercising their talents and are truly making great strides. We look forward to their developments over the next two years."
Additional information about EcoCAR 2 is available on the competition website and blog, Flickr stream, Facebook page and Twitter stream. Sponsors have contributed a total of $745 million in software, hardware and cash donations include: General Motors; U.S. Department of Energy; Natural Resources Canada; MathWorks; California Air Resources Board; Clean Cities; dSPACE, Inc.; A123 Systems, Inc.; Freescale; AVL Powertrain Engineering, Inc.; National Science Foundation; ETAS; Snap-On Tools; Magna E-Car Systems; Magna Powertrain; Robert Bosch, LLC; FleetCarma; Siemens PLM Software; CD-adapco; Ventor CANtech, Inc.; GKN; Blackberry; QNX; Woodward; Delphi Foundation; Caterpillar and Women in the Winner's Circle.
About EcoCAR 2: Plugging In to the Future
EcoCAR 2: Plugging In to the Future is a three-year collegiate engineering program that builds on the successful 24-year history of Department of Energy advanced vehicle technology competitions by giving engineering students the chance to design and build advanced vehicles that demonstrate leading-edge, eco-friendly automotive technologies. General Motors provides each of the 15 competing teams with a 2013 Chevrolet Malibu, as well as 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 and logistical support. Through this important public/private partnership, EcoCAR 2 provides invaluable experience and training to promising young minds entering the North American job market. EcoCAR 2 follows the widely acclaimed competition series EcoCAR: The NeXt Challenge.