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The Ohio State University EcoCAR team took home first-year honors in the four-year university vehicle-building competition.

Ohio State Takes First-Year Honors in EcoCAR Mobility Challenge


The Ohio State University has been named The EcoCAR Mobility Challenge Year One champion, taking the lead in the premier four-year collegiate engineering competition.

Rounding out the top three are Virginia Tech in second place and the University of Alabama in third place.

“American consumers and businesses rely on transportation every day for jobs, schools and commerce. We need advanced energy technologies that enable affordable, reliable transportation options, strengthen energy security, and grow our economy,” said Daniel Simmons, assistant secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy at the U.S. Department of Energy. “Students in the EcoCAR Mobility Challenge are our future innovators and technology leaders that will keep America’s transportation sector moving forward.”

The Buckeyes have taken the early lead in the competition, earning 887 out of 1,000 overall points. For jumping to the top of the leaderboard, Ohio State will take home an extra $10,000 to further support the university’s advanced vehicle technology program, according to a press release.

EcoCAR—the latest U.S. Department of Energy Advanced Vehicle Technology Competition sponsored by General Motors and MathWorks—challenges 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.

Teams have four years (2018-2022) to transform their vehicles from design concept into reality, building an energy-efficient, connected and semi-automated vehicle for the carsharing market.

Year One is for the big thinkers. Throughout the year, the students strived to conceptualize and build the framework for their redesigned Chevrolet Blazers. There are no vehicles yet, so it’s up to the teams to engineer solutions from scratch, research user interface components, powertrains and sensors to build around, as well as write and validate new code.

“The knowledge and skills these students developed during a year of vehicle architecture planning and design are highly coveted in industry,” said Dan Nicholson, GM vice president, Global Electrification, Controls, Software and Electronics. “Our GM mentors enjoy working with each team and seeing the creativity and passion competitors have for creating advanced, efficient, connected vehicles. We congratulate Ohio State on its win, and we’re already looking forward to year two.”

Additional sponsors include NXP, National Science Foundation, Intel, American Axle & Manufacturing, Bosch, PACCAR, dSPACE, Siemens, Denso, Horiba, AVL, Delphi Technologies, California Air Resources Board, tesa tape, Vector, Electric Power Research Institute and Proterra.

“It’s always impressive to see the success students realize when tasked with solving real-world engineering problems with industry-standard hardware and software,” said Lauren Tabolinsky, academic program manager, MathWorks. “Student competitions like EcoCAR Mobility Challenge help to prepare the next generation of scientists and engineers by providing hands-on technical experience, building collaboration skills and offering a project-based learning opportunity.”

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