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OSU, Wilberforce Claim Top Spot in EcoCAR EV Challenge

Students from two universities collaborated on engineering challenges to make electric vehicles more energy-efficient, earning them first place in Year One of the EcoCAR Electric Vehicle (EV) Challenge.

Students from Ohio State University and Wilberforce University posing for a photo with a trophy from the EcoCAR Electric Vehicle (EV) Challenge.
Students from Ohio State University and Wilberforce University won first place in 10 out of 12 categories at the EcoCAR EV Challenge in Orlando this month.
Photo courtesy of EcoCAR EV Challenge
Students from Ohio State University (OSU) and Wilberforce University won the first year of a four-year engineering challenge to make electric vehicles more energy-efficient.

According to a news release, the EcoCAR Electric Vehicle (EV) Challenge was held from May 21-26 in Orlando, Fla., with a team from West Virginia University taking second place and one from the University of Alabama finishing third. The news release said the competition, managed by Argonne National Laboratory and sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), General Motors and MathWorks, included 15 North American universities and was intended “to build an [electric vehicle] talent pipeline through cutting-edge automotive engineering education and practical application.”

The announcement added that through the competition, teams complete technical challenges like improving the propulsion system of a 2023 Cadillac LYRIQ — a next-generation battery electric vehicle from GM — in order to maximize energy efficiency without hurting performance.

“Year One of EcoCAR is all about generating big ideas and developing a strategy for the remainder of the competition,” Acting Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Alejandro Moreno said in a public statement. “These students are already demonstrating the capacity and drive needed to pursue careers in the EV sector and become trailblazers in the mobility industry.”

According to the news release, OSU’s team set out for the first time to establish a collaborative partnership with another university, and their work with Wilberforce students earned them 10 first-place finishes in 12 judged categories. The team will now take home $10,000 in prize money from industry sponsors. In Year Two of the competition, the news release said, student teams will be tasked with re-engineering the Cadillac LYRIQ to add energy-efficient features that further reduce carbon emissions.

“As a proud EcoCAR sponsor, we are honored to continue to provide the tools and training to help build the next generation of EV talent,” Ken Morris, vice president of electric and autonomous vehicles at GM, said in a public statement. “As this competition progresses, we look forward to seeing how the students incorporate their ideas from this year and put their skills to the test in re-engineering their Cadillac LYRIQs. We congratulate the Ohio State and Wilberforce team on their first-year win and are excited to see what the remainder of the competition has in store.”