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Tori Hawn, communications manager for the Colorado State University team, is showing two of the middle schoolers at Education Day how to put together a regenerative braking kit. Regenerative braking is used in hybrid electric vehicles to capture and reuse energy from the brakes that would be otherwise lost.

Tori Hawn, communications manager for the Colorado State University team, is showing two of the middle schoolers at Education Day how to put together a regenerative braking kit. Regenerative braking is used in hybrid electric vehicles to capture and reuse energy from the brakes that would be otherwise lost.

Last week, EcoCAR 3 students attended the Year Two Winter Workshop held at EcoCAR sponsor NXP’s headquarters in Austin, Texas. As the most recent Energy Department Advanced Vehicle Technology Competition series, EcoCAR 3 is challenging 16 North American university teams to redesign a Chevrolet Camaro to reduce its environmental impact, while maintaining its performance.

With temperatures in the 70s and the sun shining, students participated in training led by competition sponsors and organizers, including Energy Department representatives. The sessions covered a number of topics students are working on this year, including innovation in design, systems modeling and simulation, hardware in the loop systems used to test how components work together, project management, and communication. Teams also presented on the status of their projects to panels of judges.

Besides their own learning opportunities, the teams’ communication managers also took time to help train the next generation, hosting the 2016 EcoCAR 3 Education Day. Forty-five students from Breakthrough Austin, a non-profit organization designed to provide a path to college for low-income students who will be first-generation college graduates, visited the workshop to learn about EcoCAR 3. The sixth- through 12th-graders took tours of NXP, listened to the communication managers discuss their teams, and participated in science and engineering activities. To wrap up the day, Breakthrough Austin students had lunch with EcoCAR team members, who talked about each team’s vehicle and emphasized how essential it is to study math and science in high school.

The teams have since returned to their universities and are hard at work putting together their Camaros. The EcoCAR 3 Year Two Final Competition will be held in Yuma, Arizona and San Diego, California in May. Visit www.ecocar3.org to follow them along the way!

EcoCAR 3 is the latest U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Advanced Vehicle Technology Competition (AVTC) series. As North America’s premier collegiate automotive engineering competition, EcoCAR 3 is challenging 16 North American university teams to redesign a Chevrolet Camaro to reduce its environmental impact, while maintaining the muscle and performance expected from this iconic American car. Teams have four years (2014-2018) to harness those ideas into the ultimate energy-efficient, high performance vehicle. Over that time, teams will develop and integrate energy efficient powertrains as well as incorporate alternative fuels and advanced vehicle technologies that will lower greenhouse gas and tailpipe emissions.