OSU Wins 2014 DOE EcoCAR Challenge

OSU EcoCar Challenge

With an all-electric Bonneville speed record machine and its very own TTXGP/Isle of Man TT contender well underway, the Ohio State University’s engineering program seems like the place to be for talented young people who love the go-fasts. Considering everything OSU has accomplished at the cutting edge of green tech, then, it will probably come as no surprise that OSU has won the DOE’s latest EcoCAR challenge.

The OSU team won the low-emission technical challenge with a late-model Chevy Malibu fitted with an advanced, ethanol-electric hybrid drivetrain that delivered more than 50 MPGe while cutting emissions on the 2013 Chevy Malibu (which is already a super-clean PZEV, according to CARB and the Federal Gov’t) by as much as 50%. That’s nice work for a group of kids who, in theory, know less than the professional engineers who built that Malibu – and the EGR Regal! – in the first place!

You can read more about OSU winning the EcoCAR challenge in the DOE’s official press release, below, and check out some photos of the final judging at the bottom of the page. Enjoy!


WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Department of Energy and General Motors Co. announced the winning team of the competition, The Ohio State, as they took home the overall winners title at the EcoCAR 2: Plugging In to the Future finals.

The team’s exceptionally engineered 2013 Chevrolet Malibu with energy storage, electric drive and ethanol (E85) fueled engine technology, earned them the top honor.

EcoCAR 2 – a three-year competition managed by Argonne National Laboratory and sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy, GM and 30 other government and industry leaders – gave students the opportunity to gain real-world automotive engineering experience while striving to improve the environmental impact and energy efficiency of an already efficient vehicle – the 2013 Chevrolet Malibu.

Over the course of three years, The Ohio State consistently met incremental goals that strengthened their position against the other university teams. Their series-parallel plug-in hybrid Malibu excelled at GM’s Proving Grounds in Milford, Michigan, earlier this month, where it was put through a series of strenuous technical and safety tests similar to those used for real-world production vehicles.

“The EcoCAR 2 competition has been an incredible journey and learning experience for everyone at Ohio State, and that’s what really matters – winning the top spot is just a bonus,” said Katherine Bovee from Ohio State. “We are all excited to take everything we have learned into the workplace after graduation.”

The team’s unique design achieved 50 miles per gallon gas equivalent (MPGGE), while using 315 Watt-hours per mile (Wh/mi­) of electricity. The vehicle impressed the judges with stellar numbers and even lessened the amount of criteria emissions by half, compared to the base vehicle.

“Ohio State met and exceeded the EcoCAR 2 goals at every point in the competition,” said Dr. Michael Knotek – Deputy Under Secretary for Science and Energy, U.S. Department of Energy. “Their innovative work has contributed significantly to the future of energy efficient technology in the automotive industry, and we wish all members of the team the best as they move forward in the next step of their careers, whether in the classroom or in the professional world.”

The second-place team from the University of Washington demonstrated the most energy-efficient vehicle, a B20 biodiesel parallel plug-in hybrid reaching 60 MPGGE and 333 Wh/mi of electricity, as well as the lowest well-to-wheel greenhouse gas emissions. Pennsylvania State University placed third with their E85 series plug-in hybrid.

“For the past three years all 15 EcoCAR 2 teams have worked tirelessly to design the next generation of clean vehicles and we have seen exceptional outcomes,” said Ken Morris, vice president, global product integrity, General Motors. “Ohio State stood out amongst the competition and truly did an outstanding job. All of the teams have helped advance innovative vehicle technology and improve the automotive industry and we thank them for their hard work, dedication and enthusiasm for this program.”

Source | Photos: EcoCAR 2 Communications.

Jo Borrás

I've been in the auto industry 1997, and write for a number of blogs in the IM network. You can also find me on Twitter, at my Volvo fansite, out on two wheels, or chasing my kids around Oak Park, IL.