The West Virginia University EcoCAR 3 team recently returned from a two week-stint on the west coast, where they showcased their newly integrated hybrid Camaro to industry professionals.
by the U.S. Department of Energy and General Motors, EcoCAR 3 is a four-year
collegiate engineering competition that builds upon the 26-year history of the
DOE’s Advanced Vehicle Technology Competitions. The program seeks to develop
the next generation of automotive engineers with unparalleled experience
designing, building and promoting leading-edge automotive technologies.
The team, made up of students from the Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources, the Reed College of Media and the College of Business and Economics, first traveled to the General Motors Desert Proving Grounds in Yuma, Arizona, where they passed a series of safety and technical inspections in an effort to get their performance hybrid up and running.
The long hours spent in the garage were worth it, with WVU finishing sixth out of the 16 North American universities participating. The team was also one of the first teams to pass the first round of inspections set forth by the competition organizers.
“During our time in Yuma we worked long, strenuous hours to pass safety tech and in the end it was worth every second,” said Nick McGettigan, an electrical engineering major from Swanton, Maryland. “Many of the GM officials and competition organizers praised us for the quality of our vehicle and our work,”
The second week of competition took place in San Diego, California, where the team presented their work in the form of static presentations that documented the process of creating a working hybrid vehicle. Other presentations highlighted the team’s marketing plan for their vehicle and the communications efforts used to inform target audiences. The team gave 10 presentations to judges from industry and government.
The team placed seventh overall and also received the “Team to Watch” award, which is presented to the school that shows strong improvement from year one as well as the potential to grow in future years of the competition. WVU also took fourth place for their communications campaign in year two of the competition.
“This second year of competition was difficult, being an integration year, but very rewarding,” said Andrew Nix, assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at WVU and faculty advisor for the team. “The students dedicated to this program gained valuable experience in vehicle mechanical, electrical and controls integration that will serve them well in their future careers. As a result, many of them will accept jobs with General Motors and other companies in the automotive industry.”
Mechanical engineering major Justin Brumley, the team’s engineering manager from Delaware, Ohio, couldn’t help but express his enthusiasm and love for the project after being involved for the past two years.
“The time I spent at the GM Desert Proving Grounds and throughout this entire competition is something I will never forget,” Brumley said. “Seeing our car performing so well was very rewarding and I cannot wait to see how the team does in future years of this competition.”
The team plans to improve vehicle design over the summer and come back even stronger in the last two years of this innovative collegiate engineering competition.
For additional information about EcoCAR 3, the participating schools or the competition sponsors, please visit our website, blog or Flickr stream and follow our social media channels; Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter for continuing updates throughout the four-year program.
About EcoCAR 3
EcoCAR 3 is a four-year collegiate engineering program that builds on the successful 26-year history of the Department of Energy’s 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.
For more information on news and events in the West Virginia University Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources:
College Relations office: 304-293-4086
Office of the Dean: 304-293-4157
Other College administrative and department offices: Administration