Sixteen vehicles and one hundred university students have gathered at General Motor’s Desert Proving Grounds in Yuma, Arizona. They are all there for EcoCAR: The NeXt Challenge – a three year-long competition sponsored by General Motors and the U.S. Department of Energy that challenges universities to re-engineer GM-issued vehicles using one of four emerging alternative technologies:
- Extended-range electric vehicle (EREV)
- Plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV)
- Fuel cell plug-in hybrid electric vehicle
- Full function electric vehicle
No matter the technology chosen by student engineers, the vehicle must reduce its use of petrolium, CO2 emissions, and fuel consumption. It must also meet performance, safety, and utility standards. John Haraf, director of Hybrid Vehicle Integration and Controls for General Motors had the following to say about EcoCAR:
“The students spent two years designing and building these innovative vehicles and it’s thrilling to see them come to life here at our Desert Proving Ground. We couldn’t imagine a more appropriate place to conclude Year Two of the EcoCAR competition – these young engineers must pass the toughest inspections and undergo the same tests we perform on our own prototypes. This challenging process gives them invaluable experience and preparation for careers in the industry.”
The vehicles will undergo six days of tests, including braking, drive quality, and lane changing. Vehicle strength and drivability will also be examined. As the tests are conducted, teams will work around the clock fixing problems and refining the vehicles before the next challenge.
Which university will come out on top? Stay tuned to GM Authority as we present the winners shortly!