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Plugging into the future

This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!

Published on Fri, May 25, 2012

By: The LACar Editorial Staff

Mississippi State University team (US Government Work Photo by Myles Regan)

ECOCAR 2 ANNOUNCES YEAR ONE WINNER: MISSISSIPPI STATE UNIVERSITY Student Teams Gather in Los Angeles to Compete for $100,000 in Prize Money, 15 Receive Keys to a 2013 Chevrolet Malibu for Eco-Reengineering EcoCAR 2: Plugging In to the Future named Mississippi State University its 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 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 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.

The EcoCAR2 Year One winners (US Government Work Photo by Myles Regan)

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. 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,” says 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.” About EcoCAR 2: Plugging In to the Future EcoCAR 2: Plugging In to the Future is a three-year collegiate engineering program that builds on the 24-year history of Department of Energy advanced vehicle technology competitions by giving engineering students the chance to design and build advanced vehicles that demonstrate eco-friendly automotive technologies. General Motors provides each of the 15 competing teams with a 2013 Chevrolet Malibu, 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 public-private partnership, EcoCAR 2 provides experience and training to graduates entering the North American job market. EcoCAR 2 follows the competition series EcoCAR: The NeXt Challenge.

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