EcoCAR 2: Plugging In to the Future named Mississippi State University, with its series-parallel plug-in hybrid electric vehicle design, the 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 for $100,000 in prize money.
EcoCAR 2—which follows the competition series EcoCAR: The NeXt Challenge—is a three-year competition sponsored by the US Department of Energy (DOE), General Motors (GM) and 25 other government and industry leaders to give students the opportunity to gain real-world automotive engineering experience while striving to improve the energy efficiency of a 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 Mississippi State University 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.
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.
Sponsors, which have contributed a total of $745 million in software, hardware and cash donations, include: General Motors; US 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.