Plug-in hybrids were probably not what the Dead Milkmen had in mind when they wrote their 1985 alt-punk classic Bitchin' Camaro (OK, we're not really sure what they had in mind), but we're certainly fans of the effort. The 16 college teams competing in the third version of the EcoCAR green-vehicle contest have declared which powertrains they will attempt to build for maximum environmental friendliness. They'll be working with 2016 Chevrolet Camaros that General Motors is donating to the competition. The US Department of Energy is also helping to fund the competition.

Out of the 16, all but one will go with a plug-in hybrid powertrain which switches over from electric power to an engine powered by E85 (i.e., an 85-percent ethanol blend) when the juice runs out. Those schools include the University of Alabama, Arizona State, Mississippi State, Ohio State and Penn State. The lone dissenter is the team from the University of Tennessee, which is going with a hybrid vehicle powered by E10.

This past spring, Ohio State was named winner of Year One of EcoCAR3, winning $10,000 in the process. THE Ohio State University (as students and alumni like to call it) also won the overall competition for EcoCAR 2 last year. The vehicle used in that project was a 2013 Chevrolet Malibu, and OSU also used a plug-in hybrid/E85 combo to take the big prize. Take a look at the list of schools and their powertrains of choice for EcoCAR 3 here.

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