Penn State Advanced Vehicle Team participates in EcoCAR 3 competition

April 29, 2015

The Penn State Advanced Vehicle Team (AVT) will head out to Seattle this May to compete for EcoCAR 3, a four-year collegiate engineering competition that challenges 16 universities to build a hybrid vehicle.

Since 1988, the Penn State AVT has participated in several other similar hybrid vehicle building competitions. The team won third place at the EcoCAR 2 competition last year, for which it re-engineered a 2013 Chevrolet Malibu into a series hybrid. The car runs on E85 fuel, 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline. The hybrid-electric Malibu drives 40 miles with the electric motor alone and 250 miles with the engine.

Sponsored by U.S. Department of Energy and General Motors, EcoCAR 3 is a coalition of government, industry and academia that educates students to explore sustainable vehicle solutions. For EcoCAR 3, which runs from 2014-18, the Penn State AVT will re-engineer a 2016 Chevrolet Camaro into a hybrid-electric vehicle. During these four years, the team will reduce harmful environmental impact of the Camaro while maintaining its performance and safety.

During this first year of the EcoCAR 3 competition, the Penn State AVT has been using industry software to design the virtual model of the vehicle and select architecture. Next year the team will integrate the design reviewed by Argonne National Laboratory (ANL) into the stock vehicle donated by General Motors. ANL is a Department of Energy research facility and organizer of EcoCAR 3. The vehicle is expected to be 50 percent complete by the end of Year Two. Year Three will involve testing the ride and handling, drive quality, and emissions and energy consumption of the Camaro. During the fourth year, the team will add consumer features and finalize the car to showroom quality.

Through EcoCAR 3, students gain hands-on experience to become the next generation of professionals in engineering, project management and communications in the automotive industry. By sharing knowledge in a team-oriented yet competitive environment, AVT members prepare themselves for a job market.

“Now more than ever, hybrids and electric vehicles are showing their worth for performance machines,” said Chris Monaco, a graduate student adviser and veteran volunteer. “We're happy to be part of that movement.”

Last Updated April 29, 2015