EcoCAR Finals Begin at GM's Milford Proving Ground

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MILFORD, June 9, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — Today, students competing in the collegiate engineering competition, EcoCAR: The NeXt Challenge, began putting their vehicles through the paces for the last time before the winning team is announced next week in Washington, DC. The event at General Motors’ (GM) Milford Proving Ground marks the final step of a three-year project that afforded some of North America’s most brilliant engineering students the opportunity to redesign a GM-donated vehicle.

For the next week, the EcoCARs will undergo safety, emissions, and other technical inspections in the same facilities used to test GM production vehicles. The test information will be crucial for the judges as they evaluate which team has been the most successful over the course of the competition.

Sixteen teams have utilized alternative powertrain technologies to reduce the environmental impact of their vehicles while maintaining consumer appeal.

“Allowing the students behind-the-scenes access to our proving ground really gives them a fuller picture of what their future can hold as a leading automotive engineer,” said Mary Barra, senior vice president, global product development, General Motors. “It’s this real-world experience that makes the EcoCAR program so valuable to both the students and our industry partners.”

GM’s Milford Proving Ground, the site of all finals testing, encompasses nearly 4,000 acres across Michigan’s Livingston and Oakland counties. For more than 80 years, GM has used the facility to test vehicles for safety, compatibility with the environment, ease and comfort of operation, reliability, durability and efficiency. Now the EcoCAR vehicles will go through similar testing to evaluate their roadworthiness and appeal.

Immediately following the Milford Proving Ground event, teams will head to Washington, DC, where on June 16, the students will have the opportunity to show off their vehicles for Secretary of Energy Dr. Steven Chu and Washington media at Department of Energy headquarters. The EcoCAR winner will be announced the morning of June 17.

For more information about the EcoCAR competition and teams, please visit www.ecocarchallenge.org or the Inside the Green Garage blog.

About EcoCAR:

EcoCAR is a three-year competition that builds on the 20-year history of DOE advanced vehicle technology competitions by giving engineering students the chance to design and build advanced vehicles that demonstrate leading-edge automotive technologies. General Motors provides production vehicles, vehicle components, seed money, technical mentoring and operational support. The U.S. Department of Energy and its research and development facility, Argonne National Laboratory provides competition management, team evaluation, technical and logistical support. Through this important partnership, EcoCAR aims to inspire and support the next generation of scientists and engineers to unite around the common goal of sustainable mobility.

SOURCE General Motors; U.S. Department of Energy

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