GM Donated Vehicles Begin to Arrive at EcoCAR Campuses

Teams Prepare to Implement Designs after Year Two Fall Workshop


EcoCAR: The NeXt Challenge kicked off Year Two of the competition when students from seventeen North American universities gathered in Boston for a five-day workshop filled with training courses to enable them to successfully implement their vehicle designs into the donated vehicles GM has been delivering to the team's campuses.

The first two days of the workshop were hosted by The MathWorks at its headquarters in Natick, Massachusetts. Teams had the opportunity to tailor the instruction to their specific vehicle architecture by selecting from three track courses. These sessions offered hands-on training with software tools like MATLAB and Simulink and a range of other tools for Model-Based Design which is a key component in the vehicle development process.

The remainder of the workshop featured sessions with EcoCAR sponsors including A123 Systems, dSPACE, National Instruments, Woodward, Freescale Semiconductor, AVL and General Motors.

Energy storage experts from A123 Systems Energy Solutions hosted a session at their facilities in Hopkington, Massachusetts where teams got a first-hand look at the battery system's components and had an opportunity to tour the battery manufacturing facilities. A123 Systems is providing advance lithium battery modules to 14 of the 17 teams. Last year teams were challenged to design their own custom battery pack using the A123 modules and battery management system. In year Two teams will use the A123 battery to build and integrate their battery pack into their competition vehicle.

While the workshop was filled with many more key training sessions, there was some time for fun too! The MathWorks hosted teams for a welcome evening, allowing teams to show their competitive spirits on two indoor racing tracks at F1 Boston. Virginia Tech's Patrick Walsh and Andrew Wiedrich from West Virginia University took home 1st place trophies for mastering Track One and Track Two. Rounding out the week, teams gathered for dinner at the legendary Cheer's thanks also in part to The MathWorks. Afterward they had the opportunity to stroll Boston's historic Quincy Market.

For more information on the vehicle deliveries and the Fall Workshop, check out: