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Today, EcoCAR is marking the official 48-day countdown to the competition Finals!

16 teams x 3 years = 48 days remaining

 Lucky number 48 signifies the nexus of the 16 collegiate teams who dedicated three purposeful years to reduce the environmental impact of their EcoCAR vehicles without compromising performance, safety and consumer acceptability.

Photo: Rob and Stephanie Levy, Flickr

Check back to the blog to follow our real-time ticker and to read testimonials from the 16 teams that participated in the competition. The teams will be sharing their favorite memories from the last three years and posting photos and videos as we get down to the wire!

It’s crunch time!

The EcoCAR Year Three Finals award ceremony will be held at the Library of Congress on Thursday, June 16, 2011! This event will feature an evening reception, dinner, and an awards ceremony for students, organizers, and sponsors. Students will also have the chance to take a tour of the Library Gallery. Make sure to dress your best because this event is semi-formal!

Library of Congress (Courtesy

The Library of Congress is the oldest federal cultural institution in the United States. The Library currently holds more than 147 million items, including more than 33 million books and other print materials, 3 million recordings, 12.5 million photographs, 5.4 million maps, 6 million pieces of sheet music and 64.5 million manuscripts. Its mission is to further the progress of knowledge and education, much like EcoCAR’s mission to apply the knowledge students are learning to real-world energy and transportation challenges!

We hope you are as excited as we are to have our finale awards ceremony in one of the most beautiful places in Washington, D.C.!

Throughout the last year, EcoCAR teams have been working to produce the most fuel-efficient and consumer-friendly vehicle to compete in more than a dozen dynamic events at this year’s finals.

In less than 10 weeks, EcoCAR teams from across North America will attend the 2011 EcoCAR Competition Finals from June 6-16 in Milford, Michigan and Washington, D.C. Teams will have a chance to take home top honors in more than 40 awards and $100,000 in cash prize money.

The Year Three finale and awards ceremony will be held at one of the most historic landmarks in the United States. Can you guess where? Here are a few hints:

  • Was founded in 1800
  • Had more than 1.7 million visitors in 2010
  • Holds more than 147 million items and captures more than 460 languages
  • Contains more than 838 miles of bookshelves

Sixteen North American university teams, advanced technology vehicles, fierce rivalry, more than a dozen technical events, and one very large desert.

This has been the EcoCar: The Next Challenge 2010 competition FINALS!

Beginning today, the EcoCAR teams move out of the desert and on to San Diego. Teams are gearing up for the second stage  of the competition, where they will give presentations in the mechanical, electrical, controls, and outreach categories to panels of expert  judges. Many engineering students consider this part of the competition the most difficult time – when they have to put down the tools, put on a tie, and give a PowerPoint presentation. But they know it’ll all be worth it when the final awards ceremony is held next week at the House of Blues in the San Diego Gaslamp District.

In between the presentations, teams will enjoy a sunset cruise on the beautiful San Diego bay with a chance to wind down with competition sponsors after a grueling week in the desert.  Teams are eager to put the sleepless nights and grueling stress of the vehicle testing events and presentation behind them if just for a night to enjoy San Diego with sponsors and their fellow competitors.  Unfortunately, it will be back to work on Tuesday when the presentation events resume.

After an exhausing week in Yuma, teams will get a chance to relax a little in San Diego before the competition kicks back into high gear.

Oh, we’re half-way there.

Living on a prayer.

The team is now half-way through year two finals competition. With only two full days left at the GM Proving Grounds, the team is anxiously waiting to pass safety inspection and driving the eMOO before heading to San Diego for presentations.

The morning was spent fixing leaks in the fuel system by using parts from a spare stock vehicle at the grounds. After lunch, the controls team got to work trying to communicate with the front motor controller to get the eMOO drive-able. However, the team quickly learned that they’re not in Wisconsin anymore.

Right before shipment, the team replaced the air-cooled motor with a liquid-cooled one to better prepare the eMOO for the Arizona heat. With the craziness of final exams and all-nighters in the shop, the controls hadn’t been tested yet. The controls team worked until the pits closed at 10 p.m. trying to figure out its communication problem. After a long day, the team decided the component must be faulty and will re-install its original air-cooled motor controller first thing in the morning. The eMOO’s wheels should be spinning in no-time!

In the afternoon, the Outreach Coordinators spent time at Rancho Viejo Elementary School talking to 4th, 5th and 6th graders about engineering, hybrid vehicles, energy and the EcoCAR competition. The students were very interested in the future of hybrid vehicles and many want to become engineers when they grow up! The presentation concluded with Wisconsin’s 4th grade class lined up to get photographed EcoCAR t-shirts.

Wisconsin outreach coordinators line up for a class photo with Rancho Viejo Elementary School 4th graders

We are so psyched to be here at the General Motors Desert Proving Ground in Yuma, Arizona! It’s an incredible facility and the teams are fortunate to have such a state-of-the-art place to put their cars to the test.

Everyone’s EcoCARs arrived safely to the proving grounds last week from their university garages. Over the weekend, organizers have been gearing up for the competition finals, making all the final preparations to host more than 300 students, faculty, sponsors and judges when the pits open at the proving ground tomorrow at 7 AM.

The Safety & Technical Inspection team also conducted a preliminary review of all the competition entries over the weekend so the teams will know exactly where they’ll need to turn their wrenches to pass the grueling “Safety/Tech” inspection. Safety/Tech is the first step to qualify for scored dynamic events so teams are anxious to get in the pits to get started.

But before the intense competition begins, teams will be enjoying some outrageous fun with the ever-so-popular “Skit Night” event. The official kick-off of the 2010 EcoCAR competition will include an Air Band contest among all the teams. Look for updates tomorrow on the Green Garage Blog!

Look for more details in the EcoCAR Program, available online here.

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