Student Innovators Driven by Environment

This year's Washington Auto Show will feature more than just how automakers are Driven by the Environment, the show's theme. For 2009, the show will provide a platform to highlight educational aspects of the automotive industry and demonstrate how students are also being driven by the environment through EcoCAR: The NeXt Challenge.

EcoCAR is a three-year collegiate advanced vehicle technology engineering competition that challenges 17 universities across North America to explore solutions to achieve improved fuel economy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, while retaining the performance and consumer appeal of a 2009 Saturn Vue vehicle.

Sponsored by the United States Department of Energy (DOE), General Motors (GM) and more than two dozen other government and industry leaders, the EcoCAR consortium has joined together to demonstrate and extend progress toward common goals: sustainable mobility, and helping to develop the next generation of scientists and engineers.

EcoCAR students are designing and building advanced propulsion solutions that are based on the vehicle categories from the California Air Resources Board (CARB) zero emissions vehicle (ZEV) regulations. Teams explore a variety of cutting-edge clean vehicle solutions, including full-function electric, range-extended electric, hybrid, plug-in hybrid and fuel cell technologies. In addition, they will incorporate lightweight materials into the vehicles, improve aerodynamics and utilize alternative fuels such as ethanol, biodiesel and hydrogen.

Now half way through the through the first year of the program, EcoCAR teams have just completed the modeling and simulation stage of vehicle development and have selected their vehicle architectures. These 17 unique advanced powertrain architectures will be announced for the first time during the Washington Auto Show on February 3. Come and find out which teams might build a fuel cell, plug-in hybrid or a full-function electric vehicle, and learn how these student innovators are driven by the environment to reduce the environmental impact of vehicles.

Join EcoCAR Challenge at the 2009 Washington Auto Show and learn more about the innovations that future generations are building.