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EcoCAR 2 is a three-year competition offering college students an opportunity to gain real-world automotive engineering experience. Teams work to improve the environmental impact and energy efficiency of the 2013 Chevrolet Malibu, an already highly-efficient vehicle.
During the first year of the competition, the 15 participating universities created and tested eco-vehicle designs using various simulation technologies. Year two was spent developing cutting-edge automotive engineering processes to remodel their vehicle. During the third and final year of the competition, the teams will finalize their designs.
In May, the universities met in Arizona for six days of rigorous 2013 Chevrolet Malibu testing at the General Motors (GM) Desert Proving Grounds. Part of the judging process involved evaluating the cars on their reduced fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. They were also tested performance, utility and safety.
Penn State took home the win after impressing judges with their ethanol (E85) plug-in hybrid electric vehicle. They were the first team to pass safety and technical inspections and the on-road safety evaluation. Cal State Los Angles came in second with their ethanol-fueled vehicle and Ohio State University took third place for its series-parallel hybrid electric vehicle.
“Engineering advanced technologies that help reduce dependency on petroleum, improve fuel economy and reduce emissions is the key to developing sustainable transportation,” said John Haraf, GM’s director of hybrid vehicle integration and controls and one of GM’s EcoCAR leads.
The competition is managed by Argonne National Laboratory and sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy, GM and 30 other government and industry leaders.