EcoCAR 2 Students Tour Hand-Build Engine Center

NCSU Faculty Advisor, Dr. Eric Klang, checks out an engine build

The EcoCAR 2 Fall Workshop isn’t just about training sessions – participating teams also had the opportunity to go behind the scenes at one of GM’s most unique facilities, the Powertrain Performance Build Center (PBC).   Located in Wixom, Michigan, the PBC produces specialized, high-image powertrains for General Motors’ premier vehicles.

EcoCAR 2 students got to spend time with highly skilled builders while they assembled sections of a complete engine – the Corvette engine to be precise!  The employees at the PBC hand-build each ZR1 Corvette LS9, Z06 Corvette LS7, and Grand Sport Manual Coupe Corvette LS3-Dry Sump engine.  This low-volume facility is capable of assembling 15,000 engines per year.

University of Washington team members on tour at the PBC

The builders are trained to accomplish every task involved in building the engine, including engine component and process inspection.  As part of the tour students were able to observe the post-assembly process of each engine being cold tested and balanced to assure that the engine meets all the standards and quality requirements demanded from such high performance cars.

Tyler Rose, Outreach Coordinator for University of Washington said, “The ‘backstage’ access granted to us at the GM Performance Build Center was the highlight of my experience at the Fall Workshop.  I’m a car guy, I love engine technology, and this was heaven.”

Cal State team members run tests during the build process