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Rose-Hulman Chosen to Once Again Participate in EcoCAR Advanced Vehicle Technology Competition

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Rose-Hulman Chosen to Once Again Participate in EcoCAR Advanced Vehicle Technology Competition

Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology's leadership role in setting the course for advanced transportation technology and efficient fuel initiatives has been further enhanced by the college's selection to once again participate in the EcoCAR advanced vehicle development program by the U.S. Department of Energy.


Supporting Project: U.S. Sen. Dan Coats shows his support for Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology's EcoCAR project, led by junior mechanical engineering major Chad Conway. Coats was given a test ride in the sport utility vehicle that students have re-engineered to reduce the vehicles' environmental impact without compromising performance, safety and consumer acceptability.

The EcoCAR2: Plugging into the Future competition strives to help prepare future engineers for opportunities in clean energy and advanced vehicle industries. Event details were announced on Wednesday, April 20, by Rose-Hulman officials and U.S. Sen. Dan Coats and U.S. Rep. Larry Bucshon at a campus ceremony.

Rose-Hulman is among 16 North American colleges and universities specially selected to participate in the unique, three-year educational partnership between General Motors and the Department of Energy. Colleges offered detailed proposals about how they would integrate the vehicle design and development process into their engineering curriculum, develop public/private partnerships to promote advances in new technology, educate the next generation of American innovators, and support America's transition to a more efficient transportation sector.

"Our admittance to the U.S. Department of Energy's highly competitive EcoCAR2 competition affirms our role as a higher education leader in advanced transportation," stated Rose-Hulman President Matt Branam. "Our students will help shape the landscape of the automotive industry of tomorrow. The EcoCAR program provides our students
real-world, hand-on experience with cutting-edge challenges of today."

Learning About Student Project: Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology's EcoCAR Team Leader Chad Conway shows U.S. Rep. Larry Bucshon (middle) and U.S. Sen. Dan Coats some of the features in its hybrid vehicle that has been designed and constructed for the EcoCAR: The NeXt Challenge national engineering competition.

In EcoCAR, Rose-Hulman students explore a variety of powertrain architectures and follow a real-world engineering regimen modeled after GM's Global Vehicle Development Process. For EcoCAR2, each team will utilize a Chevrolet Malibu, donated by General Motors, as the integration platform for their advanced vehicle design. The vehicle will be tested for its reduction on the environmental impact without compromising performance, safety and consumer acceptability.

Rose-Hulman's selection for EcoCAR2 means the college and its students will have been involved in America's three premier advanced transportation design competitions. The college is currently wrapping up its participation in EcoCAR: The NeXt Challenge, a three-year competition that culminates June 5-16 at General Motors' Proving Grounds near Milford, Mich., and the U.S. Department of Energy's offices in Washington, D.C. Rose-Hulman also participated in the four-year Challenge X: Crossover to Sustainable Mobility project, from 2004-2008.

The EcoCAR project is part of Rose-Hulman's advanced transportation program, which has several partners with industry. Other student projects in the program include the Efficient Vehicles Team, Human Powered Vehicle Team, Gran Prix Engineering Team, Team Rose Motorsports and Design-Build-Fly aeronautics team.


Looking Toward The Future: U.S. Sen. Dan Coats, a member of the Senate's Energy Committee, talks about the role Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology students could play in paving the way for America's energy independence.

EcoCar2's combination of cutting-edge engineering practices, hands-on experience, exposure to world-class organizations and knowledge sharing in a competitive and team-oriented environment gives participating students a head start toward future job success. Participants will make contributions that will help keep the North American automotive industry competitive in the global market place, which is increasing adopting fuel efficient designs.

"The EcoCAR competitions mimic what is really going on in the automotive industry today," states Rose-Hulman EcoCAR Technology Mentor Arthur L. McGrew Jr., design system engineer for GM's EV/hybrid powertrain engineering. "GM and the automotive industry are changing the DNA of the automobile to address the energy concerns of today and the looming energy crisis of tomorrow. There is a universal thought that the transportation needs of the future will not be met by one complex solution but several cost effective ones.

"Furthermore, by structuring the EcoCAR competition around the GM vehicle development process, you are exposing the students to the real world, where great ideas can only make it to production if you can prove their technical merit while meeting your schedule deliverables," states McGrew. "It is the engineers and scientists of tomorrow that will ultimately solve the energy challenges of today, and it is competitions like EcoCAR2 that help energize and equip these students to meet these difficult challenges."

Announcing the EcoCAR2 Assignment: General Motors Corp. will provide Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology with a Chevrolet Malibu as the integration platform for their advanced vehicle design throughout the EcoCAR2: Plugging into the Future competition.

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.

Joining Rose-Hulman in EcoCAR2 will be California State University- Los Angeles, Colorado State University, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (Daytona Beach, Fla.), Mississippi State University, North Carolina State University, The Ohio State University, Pennsylvania State University, Purdue University, University of Ontario Institute of Technology (Canada), University of Tennessee, University of Victoria (Canada), University of Washington, University of Waterloo (Canada), Virginia Tech and Wayne State University.

Learn more about EcoCAR2 at www.ecocar2.org.

More video:

Senator Coats tours campus in EcoCar
with Chad Conway at the wheel.

Rose-Hulman celebrates selection to EcoCar2
with Indiana Senator and Representative.