The Vehicle Technologies Office (VTO) sponsors advanced vehicle technology competitions (AVTCs) to educate and develop the next generation of automotive engineers with hands-on, real-world experience. For more than 25 years, the Department of Energy has sponsored vehicle student competitions in partnership with the North American auto industry.

Launched in 2014, EcoCAR 3 is the latest iteration of student competitions that challenges 16 teams to design innovative and energy-efficient vehicles. Learn more about previous competitions and where AVTC alumni are now.

Current competitions

EcoCAR 3 challenges 16 teams from North American universities to redesign the Chevrolet Camaro into a hybrid-electric car that will reduce environmental impact, while maintaining the muscle and performance expected from this iconic American car. These teams are tasked to incorporate innovative ideas, solve complex engineering challenges, and apply the latest cutting-edge technologies. Teams have four years (2014-2018), to harness those ideas into energy to meet engineering, environmental and economic goals. The Camaro will keep its iconic body design, while student teams develop and implement eco-power and performance under the hood, retain safety and meet high consumer standards. The teams also will focus on developing technology that will lower emissions by incorporating alternative fuels.

Past competition

EcoCAR 2: Plugging In to the Future was a three-year collegiate engineering competition from 2011-2014 that challenged 16 North American universities to reduce the environmental impact of vehicles without compromising performance, safety and consumer acceptability. EcoCAR 2 required students to explore a variety of powertrain architectures and follow a real-world engineering regimen modeled after GM's Global Vehicle Development Process (GVDP). EcoCAR 2 teams utilized a Chevrolet Malibu, donated by General Motors, as the integration platform for their advanced vehicle design. 

EcoCAR:The NeXt Challenge was a three-year engineering competition sponsored by VTO and General Motors (GM). EcoCAR, started in 2008 and ending in 2011, challenged students to reengineer a 2009 GM Vue. The Challenge was to engineer a system that reduced fuel consumption and lower emissions by using advanced vehicle technologies, such as: hydrogen fuel cells, plug-in hybrid technology, hybrid technology, diesel technology and other advanced fueling technologies. EcoCAR also introduced hardware-in-the-loop (HiL) and software-in-the-loop (SiL) training for its competition students. This state-of-the-art training allowed students to mirror the real-world development process used by GM and other auto manufacturers from around the world.