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On the eve of announcing the final winners (see post below) we captured the EcoCAR Challenge participants at their zaniest. Keep your eyes open for the answers to “You know you’re an engineer when…” and the “First thing I ever tore apart…” Also, don’t miss the gorgeous girls of EcoCAR, the “chick magnet” and shirtless man. Yes, this is a serious contest, but clearly this next generation of talented engineers likes to have fun inside their green garages!


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Frank Falcone In Action

Frank Falcone In Action

After being laid off from my eight-year job as a lab technician, I decided it was time to return to school at San Diego State University and finish my Bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. Initially, I figured I would get through school, get a job somewhere in San Diego and get back to evening surfing sessions as soon as possible. Then my life changed.

During my fourth year, I caught word of a hybrid vehicle engineering project at SDSU that was just getting started called Challenge X. As a diehard gear-head and car enthusiast, I went to check it out and, almost immediately, I was hooked. As soon as I started working on SDSU’s high-performance hybrid vehicle, I knew I had found my niche. I was always interested in being part of solving the nation’s energy issues, and if I could do this while building fast cars, even better! SDSU, however, was new to these types of competitions and, as a result, we faced many tough challenges.
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Advanced Vehicle Technology Competiton

Advanced Vehicle Technology Competiton

This year is the 20th year of the Advanced Vehicle Technology Competition (AVTC) program at Argonne National Laboratory (ANL). The research and development laboratory outside of Chicago has managed more than 45 student vehicle competitions for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) since the program began with the Methanol Marathon in 1989. To date, more than 15,000 students from 85 different colleges and universities have participated.
While some of the technical goals and execution have changed over the years, the AVTCs are bound by a common theme: to accelerate the development and demonstration of technologies of interest to DOE and the automotive industry, help prepare the market to accept advanced vehicle technologies and to seed the automotive industry with a new generation of engineering graduates with hands-on, real-world experience that will better prepare them for the energy and transportation-related challenges of the 21st century.
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