What is General Motors Co. collaborating with the US Department of Energy About?
General Motors Co. and the US Department of Energy announced on April 24th the official launching of the EcoCAR 3 competition with the introduction of 16 universities participating and revealing the vehicle chosen as the platform for the competition to be the Chevrolet Camaro.
The latest Advanced Vehicle Technology Competition (AVTC) series of the US Department of Energy is EcoCAR 3. This is North America’s leading automotive engineering competition in the collegiate level. There are 16 universities up for the challenge of redesigning a Chevrolet Camaro into an environment-friendly, hybrid-electric car without depreciating the muscle and performance of the iconic American car.
General Motor’s participation is through the provision of a Chevrolet Camaro for each of the 16 competing university-teams, along with technical mentoring, operational support and most importantly, seed money. Argonne National Laboratory – the research and development facility of the US DOE is in charge of the team evaluation, logistical support, and competition management.
A Pool Of Promising Talents
This competition is the appropriate venue that provides invaluable training and experience to promising young minds entering the job market of the North American region. The engineering students can use their experience in helping bring the auto industry into the cleaner energy future.
The Competition Challenge
The EcoCAR 3 AVTC will challenge the participating university teams in coming up with a design which they will use to develop and integrate powertrains into the vehicle that will demonstrate:
- Minimized greenhouse gas emissions
- Reduced energy consumption
- Unchanged consumer demand in the areas of utility, safety and performance
- Reduced criteria tailpipe emissions
- Meeting energy and environmental goals with consideration to cost and innovation
The premier competition allows the students to manipulate industry-leading software tools and components while facing similar engineering design constraints and technical challenges that automakers face in the real auto manufacturing world. This essentially results in an effective training ground for automotive engineering students with unrivalled academic performance. The challenge goes beyond familiarity with parts and components – nuts, bolts, cables, pop rivet nuts, fender, fascia, sun roof, window motor, fuel tank, etc. The students are expected to harness their innovative ideas and translate them into the vehicle’s improved design. Students will keep the iconic body design of the Camaro but they can develop and tinker under the hood to implement eco-power performance, retain safety and meet high consumer standards.
Competing Team Composition
Participating universities will recruit a team of engineering students in different disciplines – mechanical, electrical, software, and computer engineering. In addition, students pursuing marketing, project management and communications degrees may also be recruited as part of the team. This in effect simulates the real-world auto industry environment where the students will acquire the skills they need when they start their professional career after graduation.
According to General Motors, they are very happy with what they have gained so far in terms of talent and intellectual property. And they are excited and looking forward to how the students from each program batch will perform and deliver what was asked of them in the competition. They are able to follow the progress of the students’ skills and idea-development for four years – enough time for them to see potential protégées who they can hone further.
Isn’t this a unique win-win competition for General Motors, US DOE and the participating students?