MathWorks Looks Back on EcoCAR and Gears Up for EcoCAR 2

As the lightning danced around the nation’s capital on the night of June 16, 2011 – perhaps a result of the residual electricity in the air generated by all the hybrid electrical vehicles that had been in operation earlier in the day at L’Enfant Promenade – the top performers in the final year of the 3 year EcoCAR competition were recognized for their outstanding engineering efforts.

With the close of the finals activities, from Milford, MI to Washington D.C., we bid farewell to one of the most challenging and rewarding university level competitions in the world.  The student engineers invested mind, heart, and soul – not to mention sweat and tears! – in their efforts to adapt advanced green powertrains into an existing GM platform with really amazing results.  The teams’ accomplishments are staggering.  To cite just a few:

  • The overall winner – Virginia Tech was able to increase fuel economy over 70% above the stock vehicle to an incredible 81.9 mpgge (miles per gallon of gasoline equivalent)!
  • Two hydrogen fuel cell vehicles placed in the top 6 overall (University of Waterloo and Missouri S&T).
  • The Ohio State University built powertrain controllers from the ground up in an impressive and industrial grade display of Model-Based Design with automatic code generation.

Paul Smith presenting the MathWorks Modeling Award to the University of Victoria at the EcoCAR Awards Ceremony

The MathWorks Modeling Award was captured by University of Victoria, narrowly edging out Ohio State University, with some very advanced usage of MATLAB, Simulink, SimDriveline, Neural Network Toolbox and many others.  The judging was particularly difficult this year with so many teams demonstrating mastery of some advanced tooling features.

Though the curtain has dropped on EcoCAR, MathWorks is already in the planning stages for the fall workshops for EcoCAR 2 – Plugging into the Future.  As you might expect, the competition will see some changes while some things will stay the same.  One big and exciting change for MathWorks is its increase in sponsorship level from Platinum to Diamond level.  This is the competition that sets the standard for engineering education as a real-worldproject-based learning platform, and the company is thrilled to be part of EcoCAR 2 and to support the teams involved.  The bar has been set high in EcoCAR.  EcoCAR 2 will surely rise to meet and exceed it.  MathWorks is honored to continue to be a part of the competition.

Getting to the starting line this year took an incredible level of dedication, perseverance and technical expertise.  Congratulations to all the teams that participated!

-Contributed by Paul Smith, director of consulting services at MathWorks and lead EcoCAR 2 mentor.