The garage has become
an icon of innovation, emblematic of a spirit of invention that has
produced some of North America's greatest inventions. Today, at the
Washington Auto Show, a next generation of garage innovators emerges,
ready to spark new invention, and to do so for the good of the planet
and its future generations. This is the Green Garage.
The Green Garage (www.green-garage.org) is a virtual portal, and beyond its doors are 17 teams of emerging innovators that comprise EcoCAR: The NeXt Challenge,
an unprecedented public/private partnership that provides invaluable
experience and training to the next generation of engineers developing
future clean vehicle technology solutions. Today, the 17 EcoCAR
teams, selected from universities across North America, unveiled their
long-awaited vehicle architectures at the Washington Auto Show.
EcoCAR was established by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and General Motors (GM), and it is sponsored by the Government of Canada, as well as other high-profile sponsors, including the newly announced California Air Resources Board (see today's EcoCAR sponsorship press release for additional information). EcoCAR
challenges university engineering students across North America to
re-engineer a 2009 Saturn VUE, provided by GM, to achieve improved fuel
efficiency and reduce emissions while retaining the vehicle's
performance and consumer appeal.
world is experiencing dramatic changes, and we're looking to a next
generation of engineers across North America to help spark innovation
in the way we design and build vehicle propulsion systems," said Britta
Gross, manager, Hydrogen and Electrical Infrastructure
Commercialization for General Motors. "This competition allows us
to work alongside policy-makers, academia and other industry
stakeholders to improve vehicles and increase our knowledge. Our hope
is that the Green Garage vision doesn't end with a re-engineered Saturn
VUE, but that it endures as an ongoing legacy of innovation through the
future careers of these engineering graduates."
Each of the 17 EcoCAR teams will test the boundaries of advanced vehicle design and sustainable mobility. The EcoCAR
Challenge isn't focused on one technology or fuel, but instead will
test multiple technologies in a variety of combinations. Although each
team had proposed specific variations, the teams selected from four
design platforms (see today's EcoCAR architecture press release for additional information):
- Full Function Electric Vehicle (FFEV)
Full Function Electric Vehicle has an all-electric motor powering its
drive train and has over 100 miles of range. It stores energy in
batteries that can be charged using a home electrical outlet.
- Fuel Cell Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (FCPHEV)
Fuel Cell Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle uses an onboard hydrogen fuel
cell to either propel the vehicle or recharge a battery pack. The
battery pack can be charged using a home electrical outlet. The FCPHEV
uses significant battery energy before relying on the fuel cell to
extend the range of the vehicle.
- Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV)
Plug-in Hybrid Vehicle refers to a hybrid vehicle that has a large
battery. The battery can be recharged by plugging into the wall and the
vehicle may operate without using the engine at all. Once the battery
is depleted the vehicle can still operate as a regular hybrid.
- Extended Range Electric Vehicle (EREV)
Extended Range Electric Vehicle demonstrates full performance with an
electric powertrain and can extend the range of the vehicle with its
on-board fuel storage.
Since September 2008, EcoCAR
teams have been following GM's global vehicle development process and
using sophisticated software to design their unique clean vehicle
architecture. As their designs move from idea to reality, the public
can follow their progress and learn about the technologies through the Green Garage.
The site will also document the three-year journey, highlighting the
testing and evaluation of their prototypes and, ultimately, showcasing
their final vehicles.
hands-on experience and opportunity to work with cutting-edge
technologies are more valuable than I could have ever imagined," said
Lynn Gantt, a student competitor from the EcoCAR team at
Virginia Tech. "We're actually working with the same technologies and
methodologies that GM uses, and this means we're capable of delivering
real innovation to the automotive industry during a time when
breakthroughs in clean vehicle technology are more important than ever."
While each of the 17 EcoCAR designs is unique, there are common attributes including:
- All of the vehicles have plug-in capability, which can significantly reduce on-road petroleum consumption.
of the designs use state-of-the-art lithium ion battery technology, so
the vehicles are able to store more electric energy in smaller, lighter
- All of the vehicles use a renewable energy source
that displaces petroleum consumption, which significantly reduces the
amount of greenhouse gases emitted from the vehicle's tailpipes.
- All of the EcoCAR team
architectures must retain the safety and real-world performance
characteristics of production vehicles that consumers demand.