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Ohio State students earn first place in national EcoCAR 2 competition

By: Amy Murray

Published on June 13, 2014

Columbus, Ohio -- The Ohio State University team took first place in EcoCAR 2: Plugging In to the Future, a three-year competition sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy, General Motors and 30 other government and industry leaders. The award included $32,000 in cash prizes.

The national competition, managed by Argonne National Laboratory, gives students real-world automotive engineering experience, while striving to improve the environmental impact and energy efficiency of an already highly-efficient vehicle.

The team's exceptionally engineered 2013Chevrolet Malibuwith energy storage, electric drive and ethanol (E85) fueled engine technology, earned them the top honor.

“This competition provides students with a unique experiential learning opportunity to build the next generation of energy-efficient vehicles and Ohio State has proven up to the challenge,” said Giorgio Rizzoni, director of the Ohio State’s Center for Automotive Research. “After three years of planning and execution, the EcoCAR 2 Buckeyes saw their hard work pay off in a way that exceeded our expectations.”

Fifteen competing universities gathered in Milford, Michigan, June 1-8, for rigorous vehicle testing and evaluation on drive quality and environmental impact at the General Motors (GM) Proving Ground. From there, the competition moved to Washington, D.C., for a second round of judging by automotive industry experts and vehicle displays for elected officials.

“Ohio Statemet and exceeded the EcoCAR 2 goals at every point in the competition,” said Dr.Michael Knotek, Deputy Under Secretary for Science and Energy, U.S. Department of Energy. “Their innovative work has contributed significantly to the future of energy efficient technology in the automotive industry, and we wish all members of the team the best as they move forward in the next step of their careers, whether in the classroom or in the professional world.”

The Ohio State EcoCAR 2 team consists of 15 graduate students and 30 undergraduate students, advised by professors Shawn Midlam-Mohler and Giorgio Rizzoni and other faculty from the university’s Center for Automotive Research and College of Engineering. Team members represent a wide range of majors, including mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, business and photography. This is Ohio State’s 19th year in participating in advanced vehicle technology competitions and the sixth consecutive year of placing in the top five.

“It takes an integrated team of engineers and business students to make a project like this successful,” said Midlam-Mohler.

In addition to the final standings, the Ohio State team earned an award in every individual event category. First place awards earned by the team include:

  • Lowest Petroleum Consumption
  • Best Electrical Presentation
  • Best Controls Presentation
  • Best Technical Report
  • Best Vehicle Static Consumer Acceptability
  • Best Business Program Award
  • Best Business Presentation
  • Best Outreach Presentation
  • Best Communications Program
  • ETAS ECU Excellence Award
  • DSpace Embedded Success Award
  • Best Progress Reports
  • Best Modeling and Simulation Modeling White Paper
  • Best Pre-Competition Safety and Technical Inspection
  • Best Communications Plan
  • Best Influencer Campaign
  • Best Media Report

“The team put in a lot of time and effort and really focused on trying to make a strong vehicle,” said M.J. Yatsko, controls team member and future co-team leader of EcoCAR 3. “We are really proud of the results of our work this year.”

The Ohio State EcoCAR 2 team placed second overall in the 2012 Year 2 competition and third in the 2013 Year 2 competition. The team implemented a complex Parallel-Series Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle architecture into their vehicle. It includes an E85 engine, two Parker-Hannifin electric machines, an A123 battery pack, an automated manual transmission and a Brusa charging system.

The top six overall winners for the EcoCAR 2 Competition are:

1.Ohio State University
2.University of Washington
3.Penn State University
4.Purdue University
5.Embry Riddle Aeronautical University
6.Virginia Tech University

The Ohio State team will continue on in the next competition series—EcoCAR 3, a four-year automotive program to redesign a Chevrolet Camaro into a high performance hybrid vehicle.

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More information: Seethe EcoCAR 2 website and news release for more details including competition photos and videos. Learn more about the OSU EcoCAR 2 team at ecocar2.osu.edu.

CONTACT: Sarah Jadwin, OSU EcoCAR2, communications manager at 614-205-2882, jadwin.8@buckeyemail.osu.edu
Holly Henley, Ohio State Center for Automotive Research,614-292-4217, henley.53@osu.edu

About The Ohio State University
The Ohio State University is a dynamic community of diverse resources, where opportunity thrives and where individuals transform themselves and the world. Founded in 1870, Ohio State is a world-class public research university and the leading comprehensive teaching and research institution in the state of Ohio. With more than 63,000 students (including 57,000 in Columbus), the Wexner Medical Center, 14 colleges, 80 centers and 175 majors, the university offers its students tremendous breadth and depth of opportunity in the liberal arts, the sciences and the professions.


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Amy Murray
614-292-8385 | Email

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