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Buckeyes defend title, win second year of EcoCAR 3 competition

The Ohio State University team was crowned the Year Two winner of the EcoCAR 3 – Advanced Vehicle Technology Competition. The four-year collegiate engineering competition challenges 16 North American university teams to redesign a 2016 Chevrolet Camaro to further reduce its environmental impact, while maintaining the performance expected from this iconic American car.The Ohio State University EcoCAR 3 team's Series Parallel PHEV 2016 Chevrolet Camaro.

This marks the third consecutive victory for the Buckeyes who took first place in last year’s EcoCAR 3 competition and claimed the top prize in the three-year EcoCAR 2: Plugging In to the Future competition to create a more efficient Chevrolet Malibu.

"This year's overall winner, Ohio State, demonstrated all-around excellence by using the research and data gathered in the previous year and successfully applying it during Year Two of the vehicle development process for their Series Parallel PHEV 2016 Chevrolet Camaro," said Kristen Wahl, director of the Advanced Vehicle Technology Competitions at Argonne National Laboratory. "Most impressively, the OSU team's Camaro was the first to meet all safety protocols even though they only took possession of the vehicle a few months ago."

The champion Buckeyes will return to Columbus with an extra $10,000, the coveted Year Two trophy and bragging rights heading into the third year of the competition. The team had an impressive 11 first place category finishes and placed in the top five in 30 out of 36 categories. They were also first to drive their vehicle at competition and set the groundwork for continued development in Year 3 by demonstrating industry grade processes for embedded controls and software development.

“The hard work and dedication of the entire team was clear throughout this Year Two competition and we are incredibly excited to bring home another first-place victory,” said M.J. Yatsko, team leader and recent graduate with a master’s degree in mechanical engineering.

Virginia Tech and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University took second and third place respectively.

“What our Buckeye engineers and communication students did this year was exceptional,” said Shawn Midlam-Mohler, associate professor-clinical in mechanical and aerospace engineering and faculty adviser for the Ohio State EcoCAR team. “In less than four months, they brought their hybrid Camaro to life. Special thanks to Ohio State and all of our sponsors who made this win possible.”The team and their Camaro at GM's Desert Proving Grounds

The competing teams began the finals at GM's Desert Proving Grounds in Yuma, Arizona for a week of rigorous safety, technical, drive quality and emissions testing mirroring those used for real-world production vehicles. The tests were followed by several days of scored presentations in areas including consumer appeal, project management, mechanical integration and innovation topics judged by industry and government officials in San Diego.  

"The second year added a level of complexity that definitely tested each of the 16 EcoCAR 3 teams in reworking the propulsion system of the 2016 Camaro," said Al Oppenhesier, Chevrolet Camaro vehicle chief engineer. "Even with these new challenges, the students from Ohio State displayed an exceptional ability to integrate their Series Parallel Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) system, transforming this high-performance vehicle into a uniquely eco-friendly alternative. Achieving such results is an impressive feat given the short time that they had with the vehicle."

In the second year, the teams worked with EcoCAR 3 organizers to secure hardware, software and industry mentors needed to help them integrate their hybrid-electric designs into the Camaro, with the end goal of making the vehicle even more energy-efficient without losing high-performance and safety features Camaro buyers expect.

The student teams have now developed and started to integrate their energy efficient powertrains to maximize performance, while retaining the safety and high consumer standards of the Camaro. In the remaining years of the competition, teams will focus on integration refinement and market engagement.

EcoCAR 3 is the latest Energy Department Advanced Vehicle Technology Competition (AVTC) series. The 16 participating North American university have four years (2014-2018) to harness those ideas into the ultimate energy-efficient, high performance vehicle.

Additional sponsors joining DOE and GM include: MathWorks; National Science Foundation; California Air Resources Board; NXP; Clean Cities; AVL Powertrain Engineering; Robert Bosch, LLC; ETAS; PACCAR; dSPACE, Inc.; Snap-on Tools; Siemens PLM Software; GKN Driveline; Transportation Research Center (TRC, Inc.); DENSO; Champlain Cable Corp.; Woodward; Proterra; Ricardo; Mentor Graphics; New Eagle; tesa tape; Vector CANtech, Inc.; Delphi Foundation; EcoMotors; Electric Power Research Institute, Inc.; A123 Systems; and Flextronics.

EcoCAR 3 sponsors have provided more than $915 million in software, hardware and cash donations to the 16 participating universities in the first two years.

Be part of the Ohio State's EcoCAR team. Support a second national championship via give.osu.edu/ecocar.

Original article posted on the College of Engineering website.