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Georgia Tech takes top honors in EcoCAR Mobility Challenge

Students applied advanced vehicle technologies to a 2019 Chevrolet Blazer while considering emissions, safety, and consumer acceptability factors

Washington, D.C.—The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), in coordination with General Motors (GM) and MathWorks, announced that the Georgia Institute of Technology has been named the winner of the EcoCAR Mobility Challenge, which tasked 11 North American universities with applying advanced vehicle technologies to a 2019 Chevrolet Blazer while considering emissions, safety, and consumer acceptability factors. The Ohio State University finished in second place and University of Alabama came in third.  

“The students who participated in the EcoCAR Mobility Challenge are tomorrow’s automotive innovators and will be the foundation of future engineering and manufacturing success in the United States,” said Kelly Speakes-Backman, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. “Student competitions like EcoCAR are vital to developing a highly skilled workforce that will design and build clean mobility solutions to benefit all Americans.” 

The final year of the four-year competition challenged teams to test, prove, and refine their work from the previous three years, mimicking a real-world automotive product development cycle. The teams applied advanced propulsion systems, electrification, SAE Level 2 automation, and vehicle connectivity to improve the energy efficiency of a 2019 Chevrolet Blazer. 

Each team was scored across multiple dynamic vehicle testing events ranging from energy consumption to acceleration and drive quality, as well as a 175-mile Over the Road Event through the Arizona desert, which tested each vehicle’s thermal management, range, and overall durability. Teams also gave five scored presentations to more than 65 judges from government and industry, detailing vehicle designs and subsystems, team management and communications activities, and demonstrating the multidisciplinary aspect of their EcoCAR team. 

Managed by DOE’s Argonne National Laboratory, the EcoCAR Mobility Challenge builds on a 34-year history of DOE Advanced Vehicle Technology Competitions that have embodied the spirit of American automotive ingenuity. More than 27,000 students from 93 unique educational institutions have participated to date, seeding the industry with engineers who have helped redefine the automobile for more than three decades. EcoCAR prioritizes inclusion in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics to unlock the benefits of clean transportation for all. 

Last month, DOE, GM, and MathWorks launched the next Advanced Vehicle Technology Competition, the EcoCAR Electric Vehicle (EV) Challenge, with the announcement of the 15 North American universities selected to participate. Beginning in Fall 2022, EcoCAR EV will challenge participating students to develop and demonstrate technology that uses automation and vehicle-to-everything connectivity on a GM-provided 2023 Cadillac LYRIQ, the brand’s first all-electric vehicle. To learn more about the participating schools and follow their progress, visit https://ecocarevchallenge.org.  

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