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On October 6th, 2010, the UOIT EcoCAR team took their car on the road to perform some long-distance driving tests. The team recorded data that reflected the efficiency of the vehicle’s energy system as well as the temperature of some of the vehicle’s components like the engine. UOIT is the only team in the competition to have designed a Full Function Electric vehicle.

Music credit: Abner Trio,”You’re Gorgeous, Believe it!”

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.

Although school has been out for summer, members of the UOIT EcoCAR team continued to promote the goals of the competition at a number of large-scale community events. Here are some highlights from the summer:

On June 12, the UOIT EcoCAR team joined two local sustainability organizations, Durham Sustain Ability and Smart Commute Durham, for the Eco Driver program launch. The program was established to encourage fuel-savings and emissions reductions by promoting three core messages: Drive Fuel-Efficiently, Buy Fuel-Efficiently, and Drive Less. The event included a free tire pressure clinic and various demonstrations.

The Eco Driver crew

On July 1, in partnership with Ontario Power Generation, the UOIT EcoCAR team participated in the Town of Pickering’s annual Canada Day celebration event. Activities included Canada-themed crafts for kids, presentations regarding both electric vehicle architecture and sustainable vehicle technologies and a tour of one of the team’s electric buses.

Canada Day event in the Town of Pickering

Finally, on August 27, the UOIT EcoCAR team attended the Oshawa Autofest where they showcased their vehicle and promoted advanced propulsion technologies as part of the annual automotive festival.

School is back in session in less than two weeks – after such a packed summer the UOIT team will undoubtedly have more reports this fall!

For the past two days, the UOIT EcoCAR team has been hard at work preparing our car for testing at the GM Proving Grounds in Yuma, Arizona.  With so much work to be done, productive collaboration between our Mechanical, Energy Storage and Controls groups is imperative. We recognized early on that team work is the catalyst to our common goal – a car that promotes sustainable technology and maintains consumer appeal in the areas of performance, utility and safety.

Joe Brennan and Shawn Sandham

At the GM Proving Grounds, each team has been assigned a GM pit coordinator to help us navigate our way around the shop. We were fortunate enough to receive the help of a GM technician from DPGY, Anne Chapman, whose guidance has been invaluable from the offset. After two long days with us, she seems to have developed a good idea of what our team is all about.

“I’m amazed at how well everyone works together. You are so well organized, it’s like you’ve been working together for years. Your coordination rivals that of some professional teams I’ve seen. It’s been a pleasure to watch.”

And it’s been a pleasure for us to be mentored by so many experienced industry professionals. Many thanks to our sponsors, particularly the U.S. Department of Energy, Argonne National Lab and General Motors, without whom we wouldn’t have had the opportunity to work together on such an exciting project.

Pierre Hinse and Helen Qin

Congratulations to the first three teams to pass Safety/Tech Inspection. Mississippi State and Penn State officially passed their inspections  late last night, and UOIT  passed early this morning.

The UOIT team was close to passing earlier, but just kept encountering small problems that seemed to take much more time than expected to remedy. The team said they spent a lot of time wrapping wires in the correct colors of tape and making sure certain areas of the vehicle were labeled with the correct signage.

The Mississippi State team was the first team to pass Safety/Tech Inspections

Mississippi State passed the inspection slightly before Penn State, but the teams actually worked together to solve some of their problems, including controls issues. Teams shared notes and expertise to help each other along.

“Being the first to pass Safety Inspection doesn’t mean we are ahead in the competition,” said Matt Doude, team leader for Mississippi State University.  “Our biggest events are still ahead of us and there are so many awesome teams that we have to compete against.  It’s going to be tough.”

All the teams have been hard at work,  and teams from University of Victoria, North Carolina, and Wisconsin are in the queue for their safety inspection this afternoon.

After anxiously awaiting the arrival for several weeks, UOIT received its GM-donated vehicle the morning of Thursday, October 22. Everyone in attendance was cheering when the delivery truck pulled up. The team’s excitement rose when the driver rolled out the hybrid SUV and its color was nearly identical to UOIT’s school color.  The donation from GM is the latest addition to the team’s fleet of electric vehicles; they also house two electric buses and several electric vehicles in their Uxbridge shop.

The UOIT team would like to thank GM for its generosity and continued support of the EcoCAR program. The team can’t wait to start rebuilding the vehicle with its full function electric design!

The UOIT team’s vehicle unveiling is taking place TODAY – click here for more information.

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Last year, the UOIT EcoCAR team acquired two electric buses that we have since used to increase our visibility at outreach events. We recently wrapped one of the buses with EcoCAR imagery and made a video about the process. Check it out to learn more and see how it looks!

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Members from the University of Ontario Institute of Technology EcoCAR team recently submitted this video blog to Inside the Green Garage. Mike Maduro, Helen Qin and Samantha Hazell talk about post-graduate plans and share a funny story about how they tricked new members of the team into thinking VUE stood for a technical term.

For more information about the UOIT team, check out the team site at

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