Clean Vehicle Innovators: 20 Years, 15,000 Students and Still Going

AVTC-Logo_FINAL-LG squareThis 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.

Right now, we’re in the midst of EcoCAR: The Next Challenge, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy, General Motors and many other companies. The three-year competition series kicked off in May 2008 and is expected to conclude in June 2011. The EcoCAR teams are now part of a legacy that includes past series such as Challenge X: Crossover to Sustainable Mobility; FutureTruck; FutureCar; HEV Challenge; Methanol Marathon; NGV Challenge; Ethanol Vehicle Challenge; and Propane Vehicle Challenge.

On behalf of ANL, we’d like to congratulate the 15,000 alumnae of the AVTC program. Together with hundreds of intrepid sponsors we’ve made a difference. Many former competitors are working in vehicle development today and countless others are pursuing careers as engineers because a competition sparked the innovator in them.

Contributed by Kristen De La Rosa, Director/Acting Section Leader, Advanced Vehicle Technology Competitions at the Center for Transportation Research, Argonne National Laboratory.

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