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It was sweet victory last night for two EcoCAR teams. But we’re not talking green vehicles. Texas Tech and University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) students won first place at F1 Racing Boston, a speed-filled team outing to mark the halfway point of the Fall Workshop.

 

Gavin Clark, Team Leader for UOIT takes his F1 Racing trophy

 

One thing was evident at the end of the night: don’t mess with Texas Tech. Team member Kevin Kappes won first place on Track One at F1 Racing. With a best lap time of 16.33 seconds, Kevin beat out seven other students during the final race, including two outreach coordinators. Wisconsin’s outreach coordinator Andrea Sotirin put up some tough competition though, leading throughout most of the race and finishing third overall.

Gavin Clark of UOIT raced to the top on Track Two with a best lap time of 20.67 seconds and average speed of 40.7mph. He faced some tough competitors and finished only 1.9 seconds ahead of the second place winner. But perhaps the sweetest victory was from General Motors sponsor Ed Argalas who won first place during the sponsor/organizer race. Ed beat out more than 35 sponsors to get the fastest time in the sponsor finals of 20.8 seconds.

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Nicole Hard at Work

Nicole Hard at Work

A look back on my first Fall Workshop as an organizer…

As a student in the EcoCAR competition, you never realize how much work goes into these workshops. All you really think about is when breakfast/lunch will be served, when the buses will come pick you up and what training course or session track to pick from.

After my first fall workshop as an organizer, I am awed by the amount of work it takes for these events to run smoothly. It really does take a village for these competition events to work effectively. Collaboration from so many sponsors like GM, DOE, the Government of Canada, A123Systems, The Math Works, dSPACE, NI, Woodward, EPA, Freescale and so many others make it possible for this program to become the success it always has been. It is really a great experience to be behind the scenes and help make the program a triumph.
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Virginia Tech Team In Front of Saturn VUE

Virginia Tech Team In Front of Saturn VUE

Virginia Tech kicked off year 2 of the three-year EcoCar: The NeXt Challenge competition with a first place win at Track One at F1 Racing Boston during the Fall Workshop in Boston, Mass.

Patrick Walsh, Virginia Tech’s Hybrid Electric Vehicle Team’s co-leader, who was the driver of the car was asked about his team’s victory.

“It’s a great way to start off this year’s competition. Go Hokies!,” said Patrick.

In addition to the F1 race, Virginia Tech team participated in technical and outreach training throughout the five day event provided by The MathWorks, one of the key sponsors of the competition in addition to Department of Energy and GM.

“The classroom sessions were productive and will prove to be very valuable as we work to integrate our designs in the GM vehicle this year,” said Lynn Gantt, co-leader of the HEVT team.

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This morning, at the Museum of Science in Boston, representative from The General Motors Company, Department of Energy, The MathWorks and A123Systems addressed a crowd of students and journalists, officially kicking off year two of the EcoCAR competition.

Today’s presenters included Connie Bezanson from DOE, Paul Smith from The MathWorks, Rob Mosher from A123Systems and Kent Helfrich from General Motors.

Here are some photos from the event:

The Teams Gather After Press Conference

The Teams Gather After Press Conference


Kent Helfrich from General Motors

Kent Helfrich from General Motors

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Engineering is intense.  Turning a Saturn VUE into a next-generation vehicle takes skill, intelligence and commitment.  Okay, it’s also a lot of fun.  So, in the spirit of racing toward sustainability, the EcoCAR team members spent last evening racing around a track at F1 Boston.  Today, they were back in workshops poring over information on optimizing vehicles for fuel economy, performance and emissions, but, as you can see by the pictures below (thanks to Martin Velilla), last night it was all about EIL – Engineers-in-the-Loop, a figure-8 loop that is.

EcoCAR Team Members Line Up Before Start

EcoCAR Team Members Line Up Before Start

Neck and Neck Around the Track

Neck and Neck Around the Track

GM Logo

GM Logo

If you’ve been following the EcoCAR competition, then you know that starting Wednesday this week EcoCAR competitors will convene in Boston for the Fall Workshop to officially kick-off the second year of competition. We’re excited to spend this time in the Boston area, and we hope that by the end of the week, as the Cheers saying goes, “everyone will know our name!”

This is a really exciting time for the competition, because it’s the point when things really begin to heat up. The teams have made it through the design and modeling stage and, now that they are working with actual vehicles, they’re ready to “put the pedal to the metal” and accelerate zero to 60 – or, should we say, zero to “green” – in no time flat.
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