Who do you like in the EcoCAR 2, the three-year collegiate automotive engineering competition that began during the SAE World Congress in Detroit earlier this month?
The 16 teams that qualified for the competition are Cal State, Colorado State, Embry-Riddle, Mississippi State, NC State, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue, Rose-Hulman, University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT), Tennessee, University of Victoria, Washington, University of Waterloo, Virginia Tech, and Wayne State.
EcoCAR 2 sponsors include A123Systems, AVL Powertrain Engineering, the California Air Resources Board, CD-Adapco, Clean Cities, dSPACE, Freescale, General Motors, MathWorks, Natural Resources Canada, Robert Bosch LLC, Siemens PLM, Snap-On Tools, the U.S. Department of Energy, and Vector CANtech. Sponsorship opportunities are still available.
The teams’ objective is to design a powertrain that reduces the environmental impact of an existing vehicle without compromising performance, safety, or consumer acceptability. They will explore various powertrain architectures and follow an engineering regimen modeled after GM’s Global Vehicle Development Process.
Each team will receive $25,000 in seed money for their work in the first year of the competition, which focuses on math-based design and software-in-the-loop and hardware-in-the-loop simulation. Sponsors like HIL developer dSPACE don’t simply deliver products and user manuals, but instead conduct workshops and assign experienced engineers to work closely with each team. Teams that complete their first year successfully will receive a Chevrolet Malibu and move on to the next phase of the competition in which they will build and refine their prototype vehicles and subject them to a week’s worth of engineering tests.
Winners of the EcoCAR 1 competition, during which teams enhanced a Saturn Vue, will be announced in June. At the end of the second year of that competition, first prize was awarded to Mississippi State, second to Virginia Tech, and third to Penn State. The EcoCAR competition may lack the visibility of March Madness but the results could be longer lasting.