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Fuel efficiency has been a huge theme at this week’s New York International Auto Show, and in keeping with that trend, Edmunds named the show’s five standout cars. One of the standouts was the newly unveiled 2013 Chevy Malibu!

2013 Chevrolet Malibu

Edmunds admired the size of the Malibu in particular: “Chevy bucks the ‘bigger is better’ trend that has dominated the midsize-sedan segment in recent years by going smaller with the 2013 Malibu,” said writer Warren Clarke in a blog post.

GM will be donating a 2013 Chevy Malibu to all sixteen schools competing in EcoCAR 2. We’re excited to see the teams further reduce the environmental impact of the already fuel efficient Malibu, while maintaining the consumer appeal that made the car such a hit this week in New York!

When President Obama held a town hall-style meeting at Facebook’s headquarters in Palo Alto, California last week, one of his major focuses was clean energy innovation. Developing new technologies clearly remains a key part of the President’s plan to reduce America’s dependence on fossil fuels.

Obama also alluded to his goal of having a million electric vehicles on the road, saying that domestic battery innovation was crucial to making electric cars more affordable. The student teams in the EcoCAR competition are making these clean energy technologies of the future possible, and the President mentioned how integral education will be in creating opportunities for scientific breakthroughs.

To read more and watch video of President Obama’s town hall meeting at Facebook, check out the DOE blog post about the event!

At today’s New York International Auto Show, the Chevrolet Volt was selected as 2011’s World Green Car of the year!

The award, presented by Bridgestone, honors a vehicle that was either all-new or substantially revised to be more environmentally responsible for the year 2011. The Volt was selected as a finalist from a group of twelve new cars from across the world, and beat out the BMW 320d and Nissan Leaf for the top prize.

The Chevrolet Volt

Fuel efficiency, emissions, and power plant technology were all crucial elements in evaluating the nominated vehicles, so the awards committee employed three green experts to judge the cars’ technical aspects. The experts unanimously chose the Volt as one of the top-three vehicles in the competition.

Please join us in congratulating Chevrolet on this great achievement!

Today Argonne National Laboratory celebrates the 65th anniversary of its founding. On April 19, 1946, the University of Chicago accepted a letter contract to operate a lab intended to address America’s most important scientific and societal needs.

Today, Argonne continues to lead the world in providing scientific and engineering solutions to the grand challenges of our time: plentiful and safe energy, a healthy environment, economic competitiveness, and a secure nation.

Argonne is a crucial partner for the EcoCAR competition, and EcoCAR in turn is helping Argonne work to meet America’s energy and environmental challenges. Please join us in wishing Argonne National Laboratory a happy birthday!

Photo: Peter Lindberg, Flickr

President Obama recently announced the creation of the National Clean Fleets Partnership, a public-private initiative dedicated to helping large companies use greener vehicles. Five private sector leaders, AT&T, FedEx, PepsiCo, UPS, and Verizon, will team up with the Department of Energy to convert a significant portion of their service fleets to electric or alternative fuel-vehicles.

These charter members own five of the top ten largest fleets in the country, operating more than 250,000 vehicles between them. Making their service vehicles cleaner will have a massive impact on America’s fuel consumption and environmental footprint, as well as saving the companies money in the long run.

EcoCAR congratulates the Obama administration and the five charter members on this initiative, and we hope the technologies EcoCAR teams are developing today will be in some of the Clean Fleet vehicles of the future!

Take a look at this video to learn more about the National Clean Fleets Partnership:

Yesterday, President Obama announced in a speech at Georgetown University that by the year 2015, every new car and truck purchased by the federal government would be a hybrid, electric or alternative-fuel vehicle. His talk covered a broad range of U.S. Energy Policy issues, but the President called special attention to innovation in the automotive industry as a key component to America’s goal of energy independence.

Obama’s policy highlights how crucial new thinking – the same type of thinking our EcoCAR teams strive toward – has become for our nation. Given our focus on clean vehicle innovation, it is likely that the vehicles the federal government purchases in 2015 will have similar designs and architectures as our very own EcoCARs!

Check out President Obama’s full speech in the video below.

During EcoCAR’s Spring Workshop, TV quiz show Jeopardy! featured an entire category dedicated to Argonne National Laboratory.

The March 10 episode highlighted Argonne as a DOE site that is “helping to find new green ways to power America,” and challenged contestants on such subjects as battery innovation, solar power, and nuclear research.

Check out the video below to see the entire category play out!

The President of the United States visited Penn State last month and spoke to a crowd of 3,000 people on the topic of innovation in energy-efficient engineering. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu was also in attendance. In addition to his 20-minute speech, President Obama toured an Architectural Engineering Structures Laboratory with Secretary Chu.

Twenty-five Penn State EcoCAR team members, including engineers, volunteers, faculty advisors and outreach members, attended the President’s speech, and the Penn State Outreach Coordinator, Allison Lilly, had the privilege of shaking his hand!

The Team at President Obama's speech

The President’s speech focused on inspiring Penn State students to meet their potential. He emphasized the need for collegiate competition, saying, “We’re going to have to out-innovate and out-educate and out-build the rest of the world.”

The Penn State EcoCAR team is very familiar with competition and innovation, so President Obama’s speech really resonated. The President focused on clean energy, “because right now, some of the most promising innovation is happening in the area of clean energy technology — technology that is creating jobs, reducing our dependence on foreign oil, and — something that every young person here cares about — making sure our planet is a healthier place to live that we can pass on to future generations.”

Obama called upon college students to try harder, work harder, and research harder – not for the grades, but for the good of our country’s future. “We need you to seek breakthroughs and new technologies that we can’t even imagine yet,” he said.  “And especially the young people who are here, we need you to act with a sense of urgency — to study and work and create as if the fate of the country depends on you – because it does.”

President Obama ended the speech with a message of hope, saying that he believes we will be able to once again set ourselves apart from the rest of the world by harnessing the energy of Penn State students and students across the nation.

The EcoCAR team left the room a little more excited to get back to work, to face their next challenge, and to set themselves apart in this outstanding engineering competition.

Earlier this week, the Career and Technical Education (CTE) Foundation named Nicholas T. Pinchuk, chairman and CEO of Snap-on Inc (a Silver Sponsor of the EcoCAR competition), the National Business Leader of the Year. Pinchuk will be honored at CTE’s National Leadership Awards Lunch on March 8.

Snap-on’s EcoCAR involvement was integral to Pinchuk being named National Business Leader of the Year, because the CTE stresses building partnerships with education-based institutions. Sponsoring the three-year automotive engineering competition certainly qualifies Snap-on as a strong supporter of technical education.

In addition to EcoCAR, Snap-on also held a regional partnership summit last May entitled “Innovation and Workforce Development to Meet Changing Markets and Technology.”

Please join us in congratulating Nick Pinchuk and the entire Snap-on team!

In the ongoing effort to make America more economically competitive, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recently announced funding for Graduate Automotive Technology Education (GATE) Centers of Excellence. Energy Secretary Steven Chu‘s program sets aside up to $5 million to fund these GATE Centers, which educate students in critical automotive technology.

Graduate-level, interdisciplinary subjects addressed in GATE curriculum include:

  • Advanced Combustion Engines
  • Lightweight Materials
  • Advanced Energy Storage
  • Advanced Hybrid Propulsion and Control Systems

Like EcoCAR, the GATE Centers represent the DOE’s focus on clean vehicles and its interest in meeting ambitious goals, including President Obama’s challenge to have one million electric vehicles on the road by 2015.

To learn more, visit the GATE Center webpage!

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