A Missouri University of Science and Technology team is one of 17 university
groups from the United States and Canada selected to compete in a three-year
competition, to design a more eco-friendly vehicle, announced today by the U.S.
Department of Energy, General Motors and Natural Resources Canada.
EcoCAR: The NeXt Challenge will test students’ abilities to re-engineer a
Saturn VUE to achieve improved fuel economy and reduced greenhouse gas
emissions, while retaining the vehicle’s performance and consumer appeal.
Students will design and build advanced propulsion solutions that are based
on the vehicle categories from the California Air Resources Board (CARB) zero
emissions vehicle (ZEV) regulations. They will be encouraged to explore a
variety of cutting-edge clean vehicle solutions, including full-function
electric, range-extended electric, hybrid, plug-in hybrid and fuel cell
technologies. In addition, they will incorporate lightweight materials into the
vehicles, improve aerodynamics and utilize alternative fuels such as ethanol,
biodiesel and hydrogen.
“With our emphasis on alternative energy research, the ecoCAR challenge is a
natural fit for Missouri S&T,” says Chancellor John F. Carney III. “The
knowledge and experience gained from this project and other design competitions
better prepare our students to address our world’s environmental and energy
During the three-year program, General Motors will provide production
vehicles, vehicle components, seed money, technical mentoring and operational
support. The U.S. Department of Energy and its research and development
facility, Argonne National Laboratory, will provide competition management,
team evaluation and technical and logistical support. Through sponsoring such
advanced vehicle engineering competitions, GM and the U.S. Department of Energy
are developing the next generation of scientists and engineers.
“We’re excited to see what these student engineers will develop over the
next three years,” says Beth Lowery, General Motors vice president of
environment, energy and safety policy. “The objectives of EcoCAR are right in
line with GM’s strategy.”
“EcoCAR is the latest in a series of Department-sponsored student
competitions that will foster the training of the next generation of engineers
who will develop the clean vehicle technology solutions to enhance our energy
security and reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” says Ed Wall, DOE’s manager of
the vehicle technologies program. “It will be exciting to watch as the students
work over the next three years to design, build, test and showcase their
In the first year, teams will develop their vehicle designs through the use
of GM’s Global Vehicle Development Process – the modeling and simulation
process currently used to develop all of GM’s vehicles. Sophisticated hardware
in the loop (HIL) and software in the loop (SIL) systems will be utilized, and
teams will be challenged to model and simulate the integration of their
subsystems into the overall vehicle design. The emphasis is on optimizing a
practical solution that will meet the goals of the competition.
During the second and third years of the competition, students will build
the vehicle and continue to refine, test, and improve vehicle operation. At the
end of years two and three, the re-engineered student vehicle prototypes will
compete in a week-long competition of engineering tests. These tests will be
similar to the tests GM conducts to determine a prototype’s readiness for
production. The Greenhouse gas, Regulated Emissions, and Energy in
Transportation (GREET) model, developed at Argonne National Laboratory, will be
used to assess a well-to-wheel analysis of the greenhouse gas impacts of each
technology approach the teams select.
Additional information about EcoCAR is available online at www.ecoCARchallenge.org.