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Buckeyes continue winning ways at national vehicle technology competition

The Ohio State University EcoCAR team earned first place in the EcoCAR Mobility Challenge Year One Competition. This is the sixth consecutive year that Ohio State has won the national Advanced Vehicle Technology Competition (AVTC).

The event marks the culmination of the first academic year of the competition, 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.

Ohio State EcoCAR team at awards ceremony
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, they won eight other awards including top honors for its final technical report, target market presentation, and controls, systems modeling and simulation presentation. The team also received 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 Associate Professor 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.”

Kristina Kuwabara, one of Ohio State EcoCAR’s team leaders, attributed the team’s success to hard work and late nights in the garage. “We are proud of the process and the results of this year,” she said, “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 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,” said Simon Trask, Ohio State EcoCAR engineering manager. “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.”

“I am immensely proud of my team and the friends I’ve come to rely on throughout the past year,” said Simon Trask, Ohio State EcoCAR engineering manager. “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.”

The team is supported by Ohio State’s Center for Automotive ResearchSustainability Institute, Simulation, Innovation and Modeling Center, College of Engineering, and Departments of Mechanical and Aerospace EngineeringIntegrated Systems Engineering, and Electrical and Computer Engineering, as well as Smart@OhioState. 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."