General Motors has partnered with the U.S. Department of Energy and software company MathWorks to launch a new version of its longrunning EcoCar Challenge focused on battery-electric vehicles.
The EcoCar Challenge is a contest open to universities that tasks participants with developing an energy-efficient vehicle within a certain framework. The contest provides students with real-world, hands-on experience designing and building next-generation mobility solutions, giving them more knowledge and skills as they prepare to enter the automotive engineering or business fields.
In a statement, GM said the new EcoCar EV Challenge will challenge participants to develop “a next generation battery electric vehicle that utilizes automation and vehicle-to-everything (V2X) connectivity to implement energy efficient and customer-appealing features.” In addition, the competition will also challenge teams to “apply innovative solutions to address equity and electrification challenges in the future of mobility and implement advanced powertrain, charging, and thermal systems to use grid electricity intelligently.”
Kristen Wahl, director of the Advanced Vehicle Technology Competition program at the Argonne National Laboratory, said the EcoCAR EV Challenge will be “the ultimate training ground for future engineers and business leaders.”
“Students not only gain an unparalleled experiential learning experience, but also highly coveted jobs with top employers,” Wahl said. “EcoCAR also enables multidisciplinary collaboration across a university and serves as a catalyst for automotive-related curriculum and R&D.”
Previous iterations of the EcoCar Challenge challenged students to make existing internal combustion engine vehicles more efficient. The current version of the contest, which will conclude in the summer of 2022, challenged teams to improve the efficiency of a 2019 Chevy Blazer crossover by fitting it with advanced propulsion systems and electrification tech. Students were also instructed to fit the vehicle with SAE Level 2 automation. This new version of the competition, by comparison, will be for battery-electric vehicles only.
Up to 14 North American teams will be selected to participate in the EcoCar EV Challenge. The program, which will kick off in the fall of 2022, is currently accepting applications from universities with ABET-accredited engineering programs. The EcoCar EV Challenge will conclude in 2026.