“The work that our student team completed was amazing,” said Haley Moore, team leader and graduate student in the Department of Mechanical Engineering Technology.
During their time in Arizona, the team, one of 15 in the competition, was subjected to a variety of tests and inspections. While they were preparing the car for inspection, they found out the diesel fuel and coolant had mixed, making the engine obsolete for the tests. They were still able to complete several tests in the electric vehicle mode. The tests included on-road safety, acceleration and breaking, and dynamic consumer acceptability.
The team made additional presentations in San Diego about their car design and business and communication efforts throughout the year.
In addition to the competition aspect, teams were involved with outreach activities in both cities to help engage and attract younger students to similar academic fields.
“For Year 2, the car had to be 60 percent complete,” Moore said. “Year 3 is the refinement year. Next year, it has to be at showroom completion, or 99 percent complete.”
Before that can happen, the team will need to recruit new team members. Many of the undergraduate team members graduated this year; seven graduate students will continue on the team.
Purdue University is one of 15 North American schools participating in EcoCAR 2: Plugging in to the Future, a three-year competition sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and General Motors (GM), that offers students real-world experience in an effort to educate the next generation of automotive engineers. EcoCAR 2 challenges university students to reduce the environmental impact of a 2013 Chevrolet Malibu, donated by GM, without compromising performance, safety and consumer acceptability.