Purdue team readies for final EcoCAR 2 competition

Members of Purdue University’s EcoCAR 2 team will complete their three-year competition June 1-12, 2014, at GM's proving grounds in Milford, Michigan, and in Washington, D.C.

The EcoCAR 2: Plugging Into the Future competition kicked off in September 2011 with 15 North American university teams working to design new technologies for implementation in a General Motors-donated vehicle.

Team leader Haotian Wu, a graduate student in the College of Technology, said he believes his team’s concept is different than anything currently on the market. The team plans to improve the hybrid electric vehicle architecture, which could be very beneficial for drivers and the environment.

“This architecture hasn’t been presented in the market yet,” Wu said. “The design is good for both vehicle driveability and energy consumption.”

The Purdue team consists of one faculty advisor and 12 students representing both the School of Mechanical Engineering and the College of Technology. Once the team arrives at the competition locations, members will take part in several events dealing with engineering tests and consumer acceptability, and they also will give technical and business presentations.

Wu said he believes the team’s experience with Purdue’s College of Technology has helped with this project, but that the time with the college has also helped with each member’s prospective career.

“EcoCAR 2 requires students to use real-world engineering processes, which gave students hands-on experience of engineering and technology practices,” Wu said. “The skills and methods learned in these practices will lay a solid foundation for the students’ career development, and the EcoCAR 2 competition opens a door for graduates to talk with industry sponsors face-to-face.”

(Photo from the Fall 2013 EcoCAR2 workshop, courtesy of the Department of Energy)