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 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.
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.
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.”[wzslider height=”400″ lightbox=”true”]