Ohio State EcoCAR Places First in the EcoCAR Mobility Challenge Year One Competition
The event marks the culmination of the first academic year of the EcoCAR Mobility Challenge, which has challenged 12 North American university teams to reengineer a 2019 Chevrolet Blazer utilizing electrification, advanced propulsion systems and SAE Level 2 automation to improve the energy efficiency, safety and consumer appeal of their vehicle for the carsharing market. The competition is headline sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy, General Motors and Mathworks, and managed by Argonne National Laboratory.
At the Year One Competition—which occurred May 19 through May 22 in Atlanta—each team presented their designs and simulation models to government and industry judges. Virginia Tech and University of Alabama took second and third place overall in the competition, respectively.
Ohio State EcoCAR scored 887 out of 1,000 overall points and earned $20,750 to support the university’s advanced vehicle technology program. In addition to the first-place overall finish, the team also won eight other awards including first place for its final technical report, its target market presentation, and its controls, systems modeling and simulation presentation. The team also won the NSF Diversity, Inclusion and Equity Award for the second year in a row.
“These students have been an inspiration in their hard work, dedication and optimism,” said Shawn Midlam-Mohler, Ohio State EcoCAR’s faculty adviser. “Facing a very challenging competition and high expectations, the team put everything they could into their deliverables and presentations. I am incredibly proud of their success and the success of all the students in the AVTC program.”
This year, the team was especially proud of its architecture selection process that led to first place finishes in the final technical report and the controls, systems modeling and simulation presentation.
“It took a lot of hard work and a lot of late nights,” Kristina Kuwabara, one of Ohio State EcoCAR’s controls, systems modeling and simulation team leaders, said. “We are proud of the process and the results of this year, but we are even more excited to implement our design next year.”
Ohio State won first place overall in all four years of the previous Advanced Vehicle Technology Competition (AVTC)—EcoCAR 3—and the final year of EcoCAR 2. The first year of the EcoCAR Mobility Challenge was the planning and testing phase of vehicle development; the teams will start building their vehicles during the second year.
“I am immensely proud of my team and the friends I’ve come to rely on throughout the past year,” Simon Trask, Ohio State EcoCAR’s engineering manager, said. “My teammates balance academics, extracurriculars, EcoCAR and their personal lives, yet they still manage to excel in every aspect and retain a passion for the challenging program. Our team members have dedicated every effort to our success in the Year One Competition.”
The team is supported by Ohio State’s Center for Automotive Research, Sustainability Institute and Simulation, Innovation and Modeling Center, as well as Smart@OhioState. Additional supporters include the Ohio State College of Engineering and the Departments of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Integrated Systems Engineering, and Electrical and Computer Engineering. Dozens of industry sponsors also pave the way for the students’ successful efforts.
"The knowledge and skills these students developed during a year of vehicle architecture planning and design are highly coveted in industry," said General Motors Vice President Dan Nicholson. "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 their win, and we're already looking forward to year two."