UOIT team takes up eco-car challenge PDF Print E-mail

Members of the University of Ontario Institute of Technology's (UOIT) EcoCar team in Oshawa are gearing up to prove that they are the next-generation automotive engineers who will design and build environmentally-friendly and energy-efficient vehicles of tomorrow thanks to the recently received new General Motors-donated vehicle. The team plans to convert the vehicle into a fully electric model as they compete for the top spot in EcoCAR: The NeXt Challenge competition.

EcoCAR: The NeXt Challenge, along with its headline sponsors - the United States Department of Energy (DOE) and GM, challenges 17 universities across the United States and Canada to redesign and reengineer a GM vehicle to further minimize fuel consumption and reduce greenhouse gas emissions while retaining the vehicle's performance and consumer appeal. EcoCAR seeks to inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers by giving them the tools and experience necessary to create a more energy-efficient future.

"The cutting-edge design technologies that we used in Year One of the competition not only helped us perfect our vehicle design, but provided us with valuable hands-on experience that will better prepare us for knowing how to use automotive engineering careers upon graduation," said Mike Maduro, a UOIT Master of Engineering in Automotive Engineering student and EcoCAR team leader. "Now in Year Two of the competition, we are excited to be working on our EcoCAR and bring it from concept to the road."

The team will incorporate a custom designed battery pack with 90 lithium-polymer batteries providing a total of 80 kWh of available energy. A 110 kW electric motor will drive the vehicle allowing it to perform similarly to its stock version. UOIT engineering students and faculty have estimated their prototype will be able to cover a range of more than 400 km per charge. In the first phase of the competition, the team designed a virtual model of their vehicle using advanced software and computer modeling tools, which earned them the keys to the vehicle so they could turn their cutting-edge simulations into reality.

"EcoCAR gives students hands-on design and engineering experience," said Dr. Greg Rohrauer, a UOIT assistant professor and the team's faculty advisor. "Our students have worked hard this past year and UOIT is very proud of their accomplishments to date."