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Home > Feature Articles > Logistics and Vehicle Fleet Management

Design Sustainable Mobility - ChallengeX EcoCAR Contest

EcoCAR Contest for engineering students to design sustainable transportation and vehicles

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In the fall of 2008, university engineering students will begin applying their education to a real-world challenge: how to design a car that gets maximum fuel economy and minimal emissions while maintaining consumers' standards for performance and design.

The EcoCAR challenge, announced yesterday by General Motors and the U.S. Department of Energy, brings students together to design and build advanced propulsion solutions that emulate the vehicle categories from the California Air Resources Board (CARB) zero emissions vehicle (ZEV) requirements. On the drawing board are all sorts of alternative technologies, including all-electric, hybrids, fuel-cells, biofuels, lightweight materials and high-tech aerodynamics.

EcoCAR follows on the heels of a similar competition, "Challenge X: Crossover to Sustainable Mobility," also sponsored by GM and the DOE, which began in 2004 and concludes in May 2008, includes 17 North American universities, which have re-engineered a Chevrolet Equinox with alternative propulsion systems to improve fuel economy and reduce emissions.

EcoCAR will launch in the 2008-2009 academic year as a three-year program with GM providing production vehicles and parts, seed money, technical mentoring and operational support; the DOE and its Argonne National Laboratory research facility will provide competition management, team evaluation and technical and logistical support.

Vehicle Design Simulation Software

Student teams teams will develop their vehicle designs using GM's modeling simulation process, and in the second and third years the teams will build the vehicle and continue to refine, test, and improve vehicle operation. At the end of each of the second and third years, the vehicle prototypes will compete against other teams' models in engineering tests, which will serve as a winnowing process to move the winning design to production.

The selection process is open, and 16 finalist teams will be chosen in April 2008 to participate in the competition. For more details, visit www.challengex.org.

Challenge X started in 2004 with GM and the U.S. Department of Energy developing a series of annual contests to involve college math, engineering and automotive design students. Year One of Challenge X emphasized vehicle simulation, powertrain testing, and engineering trade-offs that occur in the early stages of vehicle design. The final two years of Challenge X focus on the second and third key phases of the vehicle development process – vehicle integration and full vehicle development. Year Three will require further refinement of the vehicle with the goal of delivering a "showroom" vehicle that addresses the requirements of consumers.

Automotive Design Simulation Software

More than 30 industry sponsors provide participating teams with leading-edge math simulation software, automotive propulsion systems, fuels, emissions-control technologies, fuel cells and other tools and technologies to compete in the program; they also provide mentoring support to the students.

Contact Susan M. Garavaglia
Manager, Advanced Technology Communications
General Motors Corporation
Office: 248/857-4368
Cell: 313/378-9335
E-Mail: susan.garavaglia@gm.com



Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
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