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Article | Energy Systems Division

Argonne set to oversee the Department of Energy’s new vehicle competition for college students

Argonne’s 30 years of success managing advanced vehicle technology competitions for the US Department of Energy has just been underscored with the announcement of The EcoCAR Mobility Challenge.

Argonne’s 30 years of success managing advanced vehicle technology competitions for the US Department of Energy has just been underscored with the announcement of The EcoCAR Mobility Challenge.

EcoCAR is a collegiate automotive engineering competition aimed at developing a highly-skilled workforce by providing hands-on experience designing and building next-generation mobility solutions to meet our nation’s future energy and mobility challenges. As the need for mobility solutions changes, DOE is poised with this new competition to provide engineering graduates with a foundation in today’s emerging, connected technology.

This new 4-year competition will task 12 North American universities to apply advanced propulsion systems, electrification, SAE Level 2 automation, and vehicle connectivity to improve the energy efficiency of a 2019 Chevrolet Blazer – all while balancing factors such as emissions, safety and consumer acceptability, specifically for the car-sharing market.

EcoCAR teams will use onboard sensors and wireless communication from the vehicles’ surrounding environment to improve overall operation efficiency in the connected urban environment of the future. EcoCAR encourages teams to use Model-Based Design, a mathematical and visual design approach using MATLAB and Simulink to quickly and cost-effectively manage projects, collaborate on designs, and develop complex embedded systems.

The future of mobility is rapidly changing as customers look for options to meet their transportation needs to get from point A to point B – safely, conveniently and cost-effectively. The traditional model of the personally owned vehicles has expanded in recent years to included shared mobility solutions that are consumed as a service – also known as Mobility as a Services (MaaS). Car sharing, one of the emerging MaaS applications, enables consumers to access a spectrum of innovative mobility solutions featuring new connected and automated vehicle technologies that hold the promise of transforming mobility.

Advanced Vehicle Technology Competitions, such as The EcoCAR Mobility Challenge, influence and shape engineering curriculum at the university level to cultivate future transportation leaders and enhance the North American engineering workforce.

More than 1,000 students will participate each year, gaining real-world experience solving complex engineering challenges and building teamwork and leadership skills that they will take with them into their future careers. The competition exemplifies the power of public-private partnerships in providing invaluable skills to promising young minds ready to enter the workforce, and is the heart of automotive ingenuity working towards future mobility solutions.

Headline sponsors for The EcoCAR Mobility Challenge are the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), General Motors (GM), and MathWorks. General Motors provides each of the 12 competing teams with a 2019 Chevrolet Blazer, as well as vehicle components, seed money, technical mentoring and operational support. MathWorks provides teams with a full suite of software tools, simulation models, training, technical mentoring and operational support.

The U.S. Department of Energy has a 30-year history of Advanced Vehicle Technology Competitions that exemplify the power of public-private partnerships in providing invaluable hands-on skills to promising young minds ready to enter the workforce. AVTCs, such as The EcoCAR Mobility Challenge, proactively influence and shape engineering curriculum at the university level to cultivate future transportation leaders, and enhance the North American engineering workforce.

Argonne National Laboratory will manage the competition, providing technical oversight, team evaluation, and logistical support. Other sponsors provide hardware, software and training. Competition-level sponsors include NXP, National Science Foundation, Intel, AAM, Bosch, PACCAR, dSPACE, Siemens, Denso, AVL Powertrain Engineering, Horiba, Delphi Technologies, California Air Resources Board, Proterra, tesa tape, Vector and the Electric Power Research Institute.

For more information on the competition, please visit https://​avtc​series​.org.