US Government backs Electric Vehicle Challenge

29 April 2022 | Muriel Cozier

‘Collegiate competitions like EcoCAR are critical to building a clean energy talent pipeline…’

The US Department of Energy (DoE) has launched a competition challenging university students to engineer novel technologies for battery electric vehicles. Along with the DoE, the so called EcoCAR Electric Vehicle Challenge is backed by General Motors and MathWorks, and has funding of $6 million. MathWorks specialises in mathematical computing software.

Fifteen academic institutions, including five Minority Serving Institutions, will be provided with a General Motor’s Cadillac LYRIQ, the brand’s first all-electric vehicle, which will be used to develop and demonstrate technology that uses automation. The selected Universities will demonstrate the potential of connected and automated vehicle technologies, which allow for semi-autonomous vehicles and advanced propulsion systems to improve energy efficiency.

The teams will also use a combination of on-board sensors and bidirectional ‘vehicle-to-everything connectivity’ to allow the export of electricity from electric vehicle batteries to other areas such as homes or supporting the electricity grid.

The Challenge will run for four years, with the teams being evaluated on their vehicle design and process each year.  The DoE said that along with developing the next generation of clean energy innovators, the Challenge would support the US President’s goals to electrify the American car sector.

Universities participating on the competition, which begins this autumn, include: Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia; University of California, Davis California; and University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada.  US Secretary of Energy Jennifer M Granholm commented: ‘Collegiate competitions like EcoCAR are critical to building a clean energy talent pipeline that reflects the diversity of America and makes room for more domestic manufacturing to strengthen our energy independence.’

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