The automaker first released details on the EcoCar EV Challenge last fall, which is the latest variation of the automaker’s long-running EcoCar Challenge series of events. The automaker says this four-year university-level competition “will challenge students to engineer a next-generation battery electric vehicle (BEV) that deploys connected and autonomous vehicle (CAV) features to implement energy-efficient and customer-pleasing features while meeting the decarbonization needs of the automotive industry.”
Participating teams will each receive an identical 2023 Cadillac Lyriq model and will modify and improve the vehicle’s propulsion system and other components. Teams will then congregate in May 2026 and put the vehicles they’ve designed, developed and built to the test through a series of challenges. The fifteen universities selected to participate in the EcoCAR EV Challenge are from both the U.S. and Canada and include the following:
- Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University/ Bethune-Cookman University
- Georgia Institute of Technology
- Illinois Institute of Technology
- McMaster University (Canada)
- Mississippi State University
- Ohio State University / Wilberforce University
- University of Alabama
- University of California, Riverside
- University of California, Davis
- University of Texas at Austin
- University of Waterloo (Canada)
- Virginia Tech
- West Virginia University
The EcoCar Challenge is a long-running, GM-sponsored contest for university students that tasks participants with designing and developing an energy-efficient vehicle that adheres to a specific set of rules. The event 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.
While this latest iteration of the contest focuses on EVs, previous EcoCar Challenge events had students modify existing internal combustion engine vehicles to make them more efficient. The current, ongoing EcoCar Challenge contest, which will conclude this summer, tasked teams with improving 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 use the 2023 Cadillac Lyriq, rather than the Blazer or another GM ICE vehicle.
The EcoCar EV Challenge will officially kick off in the fall school semester of 2022. In addition to support from GM, the event has also received backing from the U.S. Department of Energy and software company MathWorks.