Steve Rogers

About Steve Rogers

Assistant News Director/Assignment Editor; degree in finance and administration from Yale University; 35 years experience in journalism.

MSU Team Officially Chosen for Eco-Car Competition

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Energy and General Motors Co. announced the official launch of the EcoCAR 3 competition, introducing the 16 participating universities and revealing the Chevrolet Camaro as the vehicle selected as the platform for the competition.

After a rigorous application and selection process, Mississippi State University was among the schools chosen to participate in the competition, which includes both new teams and veterans. Mississippi State is among the veterans of the group, having competed in EcoCAR2, a three-year competition that began in April 2011 in which they designed and built an advanced technology vehicle from a production Chevrolet Malibu.

“EcoCAR is an opportunity for the next generation of automotive engineers to help design and build innovative advanced vehicles that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, protect the environment and save American families and businesses money at the pump,” said Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz. “Through this competition, North American students gain valuable real-world experience that they can use to bring the auto industry into the cleaner energy future.”

Mississippi State and other participating university teams will be challenged to design, develop, and integrate powertrains into the vehicle that, when compared to the production gasoline vehicle, will:

Reduce energy consumption;

Reduce well-to-wheel greenhouse gas emissions;

Reduce criteria tailpipe emissions;

Maintain consumer demand in the areas of performance, utility, and safety; and

Meet energy and environmental goals, while considering cost and innovation.

The competition introduces students to industry-leading software tools and sophisticated powertrain components and challenges them to face similar engineering design constraints and technical challenges that automakers face, resulting in a real-world training ground for automotive engineering students that is unparalleled in the academic environment. New for EcoCAR 3, the organizers are ramping up the challenge by adding cost constraints as well as automotive innovation as additional judging criteria.

“The EcoCAR programs have been and will continue to be an instrumental part of developing the next generation of automotive engineers. We have gained significant talent and intellectual property as a result of these programs,” said James Kolhoff, global chief engineer and program manager, transmission controllers and powertrain electronics at General Motors. “We’re also eager to see how the students will redesign and add more efficiency to an iconic ‘muscle car’ like the Chevrolet Camaro.”

To be successful, universities will need to recruit a team spanning many engineering disciplines such as mechanical, electrical, computer and software engineering, as well as communications, marketing, and project management. The multi-disciplinary emphasis imitates a real-world automotive industry environment and gives graduates the skills to enter the field fully prepared for their careers. For example, in EcoCAR 2, the team leveraged their team’s diverse strengths to build a series parallel plug-in hybrid electric vehicle that can run on either electricity or an E85 ethanol blend.

Established by the Energy Department and GM, and managed by Argonne National Laboratory, EcoCAR 3 is the latest Advanced Vehicle Technology Competition (AVTC) aimed at developing the next generation of automotive engineers. The four-year program will conclude in the summer of 2018.

EcoCAR 3 is a four-year collegiate engineering program that builds on the successful 26-year history of Department of Energy advanced vehicle technology competitions (AVTC) by giving engineering students the chance to design and build advanced vehicles that demonstrate leading-edge, eco-friendly automotive technologies. General Motors provides each of the 16 competing teams with a Chevrolet Camaro, as well as vehicle components, seed money, technical mentoring and operational support. The U.S. Department of Energy and its research and development facility, Argonne National Laboratory, provide competition management, team evaluation and logistical support. Through this important public/private partnership, EcoCAR 3 provides invaluable experience and training to promising young minds entering the North American job market. EcoCAR 3 follows the widely acclaimed competition series EcoCAR 2: Plugging In to the Future.