(BPT) - This fall, students participating in the EcoCAR EV Challenge returned to their garages to kick off the second year of the four-year collegiate competition. The EcoCAR EV Challenge, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), General Motors (GM) and MathWorks, prepares college students to meet the changing demands of the automotive industry by providing them with hands-on training and knowledge of electric vehicles (EVs), connected auto technologies and autonomous vehicle systems.
Following the first year of the competition, which was primarily focused on student teams conceptualizing their vehicle designs, GM provided each team with a 2023 Cadillac LYRIQ which the students are reengineering to add new energy efficient and automated features.
This year, EcoCAR students get the full experience of designing, developing and deploying their own automated vehicle systems. Teams will explore these features with a unique focus on minimizing energy consumption through making energy-mindful decisions, integrating eco-driving control strategies and deploying connected vehicle technologies.
With an all-electric future on the horizon and autonomous mobility continuing to advance, the automotive industry is currently undergoing a once-in-a-century technological revolution and is grappling with massive shifts in technology, workforce, supply chains and its manufacturing base as a result. Vehicles with automated driving features are growing in popularity, with the capability and refinement of these features progressing rapidly year over year as automakers look to Connected and Automated Vehicle (CAV) features to improve vehicle safety and driver experience.
As the development of EVs and new CAV technologies continues to advance, programs such as the EcoCAR EV Challenge are critical for helping to bridge the current skills gap and build the talent pipeline needed to meet the industry’s future needs through cutting-edge automotive engineering education and practical application. The competition is uniquely designed to support the workforce pipeline needed to produce the next generation of EVs, enabling participating students to graduate with the skills and experience to immediately contribute to the development of EVs and CAV systems and drive new auto innovations.
Working closely with mobility and government leaders on a curriculum specifically tailored to align with future industry needs, programs such as EcoCAR and other Advanced Vehicle Technology Competitions (AVTCs) managed by Argonne National Laboratory help address the toughest mobility challenges facing our nation, while building a skilled workforce that reflects the diversity of North America. They help prepare the auto industry leaders of the future by providing them with the necessary knowledge and skillsets to secure high-paying, highly desired roles post-graduation and pave the way for tomorrow’s auto industry advances.
To learn more about the EcoCAR EV Challenge and to follow along on each team's journey, visit avtcseries.org and like, follow and subscribe to the competition’s Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn channels.