EcoCAR Competitions

From 2012 to 2017, I participated in two of the US Department of Energy's Advanced Vehicle Technology Competitions (AVTCs): EcoCAR 2 and EcoCAR 3. Each competition lasts for several years. Each year has different technical goals and culminates in a yearly competition at the end of the school year in May where the teams are judged against each other in a variety of static and dynamic tests and presentations.

EcoCAR 2 (2011-2014)

EcoCAR 2 was an AVTC sponsored by the US DOE and General Motors that took place from 2010 to 2014. I participated as a member of the Ohio State competition team from midway through the first year (January 2012) to the end of the competition in year three (May 2014).

EcoCAR 2 challenged 15 North American universities to re-engineer a 2013 Chevrolet Malibu into a hybrid vehicle by improving energy efficiency while maintaining consumer acceptability.

The Ohio State team placed second in Year One, third in Year Two, and first in Year Three. The Ohio State vehicle was the most efficient and had the lowest emissions of all the competition vehicles.

While on the team, I was a member of the electrical subteam, contributing to the design and integration of the high voltage battery pack, the High Voltage system, and the Low Voltage system. In particular, I led the design and integration of the main high voltage junction/fuse boxes used in the vehicle. In Year Three, I became the electrical subteam leader.

I was also one of the two presenters for the Electrical Presentations for Ohio State for year two and three of the competition. Ohio State won Best Electrical Presentation both years.

EcoCAR 3 (2014-2018)

EcoCAR 3 was an AVTC sponsored by the US DOE and General Motors that took place from 2014 to 2018. I participated in years one, two, and three (2014-2017), first as a subteam leader (years one and two), and later engineering manager and team leader (year three) of the Ohio State team.

EcoCAR 3 challenged 16 North American universities to re-engineer a 2016 Chevrolet Camaro into a performance hybrid vehicle, reducing energy consumption and improving efficiency while maintaining performance and consumer appeal.

The Ohio State team won all four years of the competition.

Year One

In Year One, the design year, I was the electrical subteam leader, consulting on the selection of the hybrid vehicle architecture and components we intended to use. I was also responsible for designing the low voltage and high voltage systems and the controller networks we expected to integrate into the vehicle based on our selected architecture. I also spent the year training and preparing many new electrical team members on all the skills they would need to integrate electrical systems into the vehicle in Year Two.

Additionally, I was the leader of the Innovation team. Each team was required to do an "innovation" project during the competition, with the intention of incentivizing taking on a high-risk, high-reward project. Ohio State's project for the first two years was called DRIVE: Driver Recommendation for Increased Vehicle Efficiency. This was envisioned as a driver feedback system that would precalculate the optimal route and energy-optimal speed over that route and provide feedback to the driver to maintain that speed to optimize vehicle energy usage. It would also have requested changes in the vehicle's hybrid operating mode, if applicable.

I also contributed heavily to the team's Trade Show presentation, which is intended to simulate a booth and pitch at a trade show. I helped design and implement the audio/visual aspects of the pitch, including the interactive presentation the team used. Ohio State won Best Trade Show Presentation.

I gave Ohio State's Winter Workshop and Final Competition Innovation presentations in Year One, which were both awarded First Place.

Year Two

In Year Two, we took delivery of our Camaro and began integrating components and systems into it, with the goal of acheiving a "50% buyoff" vehicle by the end of the competition year.

I was responsible for the design and integration of the [High Voltage Energy Storage System], which was a major focus of the year. I also led the integration of the high and low voltage systems, including adding fuse boxes, relays, controllers, inverters, and many other components. Concerns here included wire sizing, routing, mounting, strain relief, abrasion protection, and electromagnetic interference. I also led the construction and validation of the Controller Area Networks (CAN) that the team added into the vehicle, as well as integration into the existing CAN networks of the vehicle.

Year Three

In Year Three, I became the Team Leader, responsible for coordinating the activities of the various subteams to get the vehicle to as refined a state as possible. Our team was about 50 members this year. The most difficult task was balancing the need to test the vehicle to refine and test the control system with the need to do some serious overhauls of certain parts of the vehicle.