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DOE announces EcoCAR 2; focus on electric drive technology

EcoCar 2 Malibu. Click to enlarge.

At the SAE 2011 World Congress in Detroit, Michigan, US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Assistant Secretary for Policy and International Affairs, David Sandalow, announced the official launch of the EcoCAR 2: Plugging into the Future competition and the sixteen university teams selected to participate.

Established by the DOE and General Motors, EcoCAR 2 is a three-year competition that builds upon a 23-year history of DOE Advanced Vehicle Technology Competitions (AVTC). EcoCAR 2 follows the competition series EcoCAR: The NeXt Challenge. EcoCAR 2 requires students to explore a variety of powertrain architectures focusing on electric drive vehicle technology. EcoCAR teams will utilize a 2013 Chevrolet Malibu donated by General Motors as the integration platform for their advanced vehicle design.

EcoCAR 2’s technical goals are to construct and demonstrate vehicles and powertrains that, when compared to the production gasoline vehicle:

  • Reduce petroleum energy consumption on the basis of a total fuel cycle analysis;
  • Reduce fuel consumption;
  • Reduce WTW and GHG emissions;
  • Reduce criteria tailpipe emissions;
  • Maintain consumer acceptability in the areas of performance, utility, and safety.

Participating universities will use electric powertrains, next generation control systems, and advanced battery technologies to reduce fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions (GHG). Student designs will consider the well-to-wheel (WTW) impact of fuel use and select renewable fuels such as hydrogen, E85 (85% ethanol), or B20 (20% biodiesel).

During the three-year program EcoCAR 2 teams will follow a real-world Vehicle Development Process (VDP) modeled after GM’s VDP, as in EcoCAR. Using the VDP enables students to design, build and refine their advanced technology vehicles. Throughout the program, students will focus on improving their vehicle’s efficiency while retaining ride and handling, control and safety system performance.

Year One begins with modeling and simulation to develop their vehicle architecture. In Year Two teams incorporate their new powertrains, and in the final year, teams refine their vehicles to near-showroom quality. At the end of each academic year, teams compete in more than two dozen static and dynamic events for top honors and $100,000 in cash prizes.

EcoCAR 2 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, California)
  • Colorado State University (Fort Collins, Colorado)
  • Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (Daytona Beach, Florida)
  • Mississippi State University (Starkville, Mississippi)
  • North Carolina State University (Raleigh, North Carolina)
  • The Ohio State University (Columbus, Ohio)
  • Pennsylvania State University (University Park, Pennsylvania)
  • Purdue University (West Lafayette, Indiana)
  • Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology (Terre Haute, Indiana)
  • University of Ontario Institute of Technology (Oshawa, Ontario, Canada)
  • University of Tennessee, Knoxville (Knoxville, Tennessee)
  • University of Victoria (Victoria, British Columbia, Canada)
  • University of Washington (Seattle, Washington)
  • University of Waterloo (Waterloo, Ontario, Canada)
  • Virginia Tech (Blacksburg, Virginia)
  • Wayne State University (Detroit, Michigan)

In addition to GM, other sponsors 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.



The artwork is just a tiny little bit over the top...


No UC Davis? They were pioneers in series hybrids in these contests decades ago...I guess electrical is a big jump.


I think Davis was in the Equinox challenge years ago. It might depend on budgets in school departments, all of this costs money. Dr. Andy Frank has made great contributions and has been a true pioneer in the field.

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