Energy, Environment, WVU News

WVU engineering team takes 2nd place in first year of national EcoCar EV Challenge

MORGANTOWN – A WVU engineering team recently took second place in Year One of the national EcoCAR Electric Vehicle Challenge.

The four-year EcoCAR EV Challenge is a cross-disciplinary competition among 15 North American universities designed to build an EV talent pipeline through cutting edge automotive engineering education and practical application. It’s managed by Argonne National Laboratory and sponsored by thenU.S. Department of Energy, General Motors, and MathWorks.

Participating teams are tasked with complex, real-world technical EV challenges, including enhancing the propulsion system of a 2023 Cadillac LYRIQ to optimize energy efficiency while maintaining consumer expectations for performance and driving experience.

“Year One of EcoCAR is all about generating big ideas and developing a strategy for the remainder of the competition,” said Acting Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Alejandro Moreno. “These students are already demonstrating the capacity and drive needed to pursue careers in the EV sector and become trailblazers in the mobility industry.”

In Year Two of the competition, each student team will receive a Cadillac LYRIQ, a next-generation battery electric vehicle provided by GM. Teams will be tasked with reengineering the vehicle to add new energy-efficient and customer-friendly features designed to address the decarbonization needs of the automotive industry.

Ken Morris, vice president of Electric and Autonomous Vehicles at GM, said, “As this competition progresses, we look forward to seeing how the students incorporate their ideas from this year and put their skills to the test in reengineering their Cadillac LYRIQs.”

The EcoCar EV Challenge continues the DOE’s Advanced Vehicle Technology Competitions.

The Cadillac LYRIQ is GM’s first all-electric vehicle built on GM’s Ultium Platform which encompasses a common set of propulsion components – battery cells, modules, packs, and a family for Ultium Drive units. GM also provides vehicle components, seed money, technical mentoring, and operational support.

The challenge employs Model-Based Design, a mathematical and visual design approach using MATLAB and Simulink, that enables users to manage projects quickly and cost-effectively, collaborate on designs, and develop complex embedded systems. MathWorks provides teams with a full suite of software tools, simulation models, training, technical mentoring, and operational support.

The DOE and its research and development facility, Argonne National Laboratory, provide competition management, team evaluation and logistical support. Other sponsors provide hardware, software, and training.

The Year One final took place May 21-26 in Orlando, Fla. The Ohio State & Wilberforce University Team took first place, and the University of Alabama finished third.