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Purdue selected for three-year EcoCAR 2 competition
Purdue will be one of 16 universities who will have a team in the three-year EcoCAR 2 competition, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and General Motors (GM). Teams were announced April 13.
The competition challenges the teams to convert a Chevrolet Malibu into a hybrid/electric or fuel-cell vehicle to reduce its environmental impact without compromising performance, safety and consumer acceptability.
Vahid Motevalli, department head and professor of mechanical engineering technology, will be the lead faculty advisor for the Purdue team. Several other professors are involved with the project:
- Gregory Shaver, associate professor of mechanical engineering, leading engine control and overall mechanical systems;
- Oleg Wasynczuk, professor of electrical and computer engineering, advising the team on power electronics and the electric motor and controller;
- Haiyan (Henry) H. Zhang, assistant professor of mechanical engineering technology, who is overseeing the modeling and simulation and work on the vehicle’s transmission;
- Peter Meckl, professor of mechanical engineering, overseeing work in power train controls and diagnostics; and
- Eric Dietz, associate professor of computer and information technology, leading work on batteries and computer and information systems
"This is a fantastic opportunity for our students to work in multi-disciplinary teams"
Motevalli said students from across campus will be asked to apply for team membership this spring. He expects to attract many students from Technology and Engineering, and he says there are roles on the team for students in other academic disciplines. A callout has been scheduled for Monday, April 25, 7-8 p.m., in Electrical Engineering Building, Room 129.
“This is a fantastic opportunity for our students to work in multi-disciplinary teams to address real-world and complex problems associated with system integration, combining engines, electric motors, energy storage and other automotive components into a vehicle that meets all the performance parameters consumers expect,” he said.
The team’s first assignment will be due in the fall. At that time, they will have to present a simulation model of their vehicle configuration. They will use Autonomie software, developed by Argonne National Laboratory, to create the model. The software is already being used in a Technology graduate course taught by Zhang.
Each team will be provided with their vehicle after the first year of the competition. At that time, the teams will work on converting, testing, integrating and optimizing their designs with the vehicle. At the end of each year of the project, the teams will come together for competitions. The first year competition will be based on the design process. Competitions in the second two years will focus on the vehicles and how well they achieve the goals of the competition.
In addition to the vehicle, the teams receive $25,000 in seed money to help them start their projects. The host school is required to at least match that investment. The colleges of Technology and Engineering have committed to three years worth of funding for the team to help them reach their goals.
The top 16 teams were selected from a pool of 75 proposals.
About EcoCAR 2
EcoCAR 2 is a three-year competition that builds on the 23-year history of DOE advanced vehicle technology competitions by giving engineering students the chance to design and build advanced vehicles that demonstrate cutting-edge automotive technologies.
General Motors provides production vehicles, vehicle components, seed money, technical mentoring and operational support. The U.S. Department of Energy and its research and development facility, Argonne National Laboratory, provide competition management, team evaluation, technical and logistical support.
Through this important partnership, EcoCAR 2 aims to inspire and educate the next generation of automotive engineers and accelerate the development and demonstration of technologies that are of interest to the DOE and the automotive industry.