ASU student team brings 4-year project over the finish line with multifaceted evaluation
The car may be a hybrid, but it’s still also a Camaro, so it’ll lay down that famous rumble on the track. But how will it hold up against the competition?
Arizona State University’s EcoCAR3 will be put to the test this week, the culmination of a four-year competition sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy and General Motors. The aim is to build on the 26-year history of the Department of Energy's Advanced Vehicle Technology Competitions by continuing to develop the next generation of engineers and scientists. Sixteen universities took part.
General Motors donated a 2016 Camaro to the team. Their mission? Develop it into a hybrid — but keep the sports-car flavor intact.
Video by Ken Fagan/ASU Now
“This year’s car is the best it’s ever been,” said team communications manager Mattie Whitt, a junior majoring in business management.
ASU’s car can run in three modes. It runs on gas in conventional mode. In electric, it’s quiet and has a 40-mile range (good enough for most Valley commutes). When the batteries are drained, the gas engine kicks in. It also runs on a blended mode of both electricity and gas, a hybrid with the signature Camaro rumble.
“Obviously when we’re going out and buying a Camaro, as a consumer we want it to run like a Camaro, we want it to sound like a Camaro,” Whitt said. “I think sometimes when most of us think about hybrids, even in 2018, we’re thinking of a Prius; we’re thinking of a little bug driving down the freeway. That might be our first thought, that this isn’t the iconic Camaro we think of. The main objective of the competition is to get it to run like the performance Camaro we all know and love.”
The competition put industry-leading software tools and sophisticated powertrain components in students’ hands and pitted them against a real-world training ground of engineering constraints and technical challenges. About 30 students are on the team, and about 20 of them worked on the project daily.
Abdel Ra’ouf Mayyas, an assistant professor of automotive engineering in the Polytechnic School, one of the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering, is the team’s lead faculty adviser.