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The University of Alabama

Strong Showing for UA Students in First Year of National Vehicle Contest

Faculty advisers and student members of the EcoCAR 3 team at The University of Alabama pose for a photograph at an EcoCAR 3 event. The first-year team was recently recognized as the "Team to Watch" by competition organizers.

Faculty advisers and some student members of the EcoCAR 3 team at The University of Alabama pose for a photograph at an EcoCAR 3 event with Bill Beggs, center, a team mentor with General Motors. The first-year team was recently recognized as the “Team to Watch” by competition organizers.

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — A team of University of Alabama students that is part of a national competition to design an advanced, energy-efficient vehicle was recognized as the “Team to Watch” after completing the first year of the four-year competition, one of several honors for the team.

In 2014, UA was selected as one of 16 institutions to compete in EcoCAR 3, an engineering competition that challenges students to create a car that uses less energy and emits less pollution without sacrificing performance, safety or consumer appeal.

This is the first team from UA to participate in an Advanced Vehicle Technology Competition, established by the U.S. Department of Energy and General Motors Co., and managed by Argonne National Laboratory.

The four-year competition engages the next generation of automotive professionals in both engineering and business, allowing students to experience the vehicle development and launch process from design to marketing.

About 150 students from eight different disciplines are part of UA’s team. The team also worked with the Capstone Agency, a student-run public relations firm, to help with social media and media relations.

During the competition, students conceive, design and integrate an innovative, state-of-the-art powertrain into a Chevrolet Camaro, donated by GM, with the objectives of maximizing vehicle fuel efficiency, maintaining federal emissions and safety standards, and improving vehicle performance, all while satisfying consumer demands for flawless drivability and affordable cost.

The students’ success in meeting these objectives is evaluated yearly before the final evaluation at the end of the competition.

The EcoCAR 3 year-one competition was the first week of June in Seattle, Washington. The week-long series of presentations and tradeshows allowed each team to describe its efforts and projects during the first year. At the end of the week, an awards ceremony was held to recognize the top presenters and schools.

During the year-end contest, UA’s project manager Kaylie Crosby, a senior from Katy, Texas, studying mechanical engineering while earning a master’s in business administration, won the Excellence in Leadership Award.

UA’s EcoCAR 3 team also placed first for its media relations report, outreach presentation, Clean Cities Coalition Outreach Initiative and for executing the most creative outreach event. The team’s mechanical-engineering presentation placed third.

In all, UA’s team was ranked in the top half of the competition heading into the second year.

“We’re thrilled to have done so well in the EcoCAR 3 year-one competition,” said Brittany Galloway, communications manager for UA’s team and a graduate student from Lansing, Michigan, studying advertising and public relations.

“We’re looking forward to year-two of the competition. We have a lot of innovation and ingenuity in store,” she said. “In addition, we look forward to the invaluable real-life experience as we continue to create our design, execute it and develop our skills as professionals while bringing the automotive industry into a cleaner energy future.”

The team’s advisers are Dr. Tim Haskew, head of the department of electrical and computer engineering; Dr. Rob Morgan, executive director for Innovation Initiatives in the Culverhouse College of Commerce; Mike Pope, instructor of marketing in the STEM Path to MBA program; Dr. Paul Puzinauskas, associate professor of mechanical engineering; and Dr. Hwan-Sik Yoon, assistant professor of mechanical engineering.

The University of Alabama, a student-centered research university, is experiencing significant growth in both enrollment and academic quality. This growth, which is positively impacting the campus and the state's economy, is in keeping with UA's vision to be the university of choice for the best and brightest students. UA, the state's flagship university, is an academic community united in its commitment to enhancing the quality of life for all Alabamians.