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EcoCAR EV challenge to launch at 15 universities in the fall with goal to ‘help build EV talent pipeline’

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Education | Technology
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The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), General Motors, and MathWorks announced Friday the 15 North American universities that will join the EcoCAR EV Challenge. Each team will use their automotive engineering skills to turn the all-electric 2023 Cadillac LYRIQ into “a next-generation battery electric vehicle (BEV).”

Sponsored by the DOE, the goal of the four-year advanced vehicle technology competition is for students “to pursue advanced mobility research and experiential learning,” according to a news release.

Managed by Argonne National Laboratory, the challenge will be “at the cutting edge of automotive engineering education, serving as a proving ground for future automotive engineers.” Students will be tasked with adding connected and autonomous vehicle (CAV) features to each of their LYRIQs and enhancing their propulsion systems to implement energy-efficient and “customer-pleasing” features while meeting the decarbonization needs of the automotive industry, according to the release. The Cadillacs will be donated by GM.

More than $6 million will be provided to the universities, including five Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs), for the competition, which is set to begin in the fall.

“This investment supports the recruitment and retention of underrepresented minority students and faculty to help build an EV talent pipeline that reflects the diversity of North America,” the release states. 

U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm said the “budding energy leaders are heeding President Biden’s call to get more Americans into EVs.”

“Collegiate competitions like EcoCAR are critical to building a clean energy talent pipeline that reflects the diversity of America and make room for more domestic manufacturing to strengthen our energy independence,” she said.

To improve diversity in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) and higher education, diversity, equity, and inclusion will be incorporated into all areas of the competition through the identification of equity and electrification issues in mobility and outreach to underserved communities and underrepresented youth. Five MSIs, including two Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), will also share more than $1 million to strengthen their automotive programs and recruit and retain underrepresented minority students and faculty.

“We are proud to support EcoCAR and its mission to help prepare the next generation of the automotive workforce,” said Steve Carlisle, GM executive vice president and president, North America, in the release “As students work on the LYRIQ they’re developing real-world knowledge and skills that will help accelerate their impact on the transformation of the auto industry. The EcoCAR program provides an exceptional educational experience for students and an exceptional talent pipeline for GM. We look forward to working with these students on our journey toward a zero emissions future.”

The universities selected to participate in the EcoCAR EV Challenge are:

    • Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University/ Bethune-Cookman University;
    • Georgia Institute of Technology;
    • Illinois Institute of Technology;
    • McMaster University (Canada);
    • Mississippi State University;
    • Ohio State University/Wilberforce University;
    • University of Alabama;
    • University of California, Riverside;
    • University of California, Davis;
    • University of Texas at Austin;
    • University of Waterloo (Canada);
    • Virginia Tech, and
    • West Virginia University.

“We are thrilled to once again partner with the DOE and GM to give students real-world laboratory opportunities,” said Lauren Tabolinsky, Academic Program Manager for MathWorks, in the release. “Providing the latest tools and resources for the university teams is a crucial element in educating the next generation of engineers and preparing them to begin their careers, especially with the development of EV technology.”

Students picked to be on the teams will have a wide range of engineering skill sets including mechanical, electrical, computer, and software engineering, as well as skills from other backgrounds such as communications, public relations, business, and project management “to emulate the real-world experience of working in the automotive industry.”

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Featured image: A close-up shot of GM’s 2023 Cadillac LYRIQ. (Provided by PR Newswire and EcoCAR EV Challenge)

GM’s 2023 Cadillac LYRIQ. (Provided by PR Newswire and EcoCAR EV Challenge)

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