- Category: World News
- Published on Wednesday, 21 September 2011 10:58
- Written by Tejas Joseph
- Hits: 12739
Innovative courses and competitions are serving to attract and nurture a new generation of automotive vehicle engineers who can 'think electric'.
There is alarm in the halls of engineering and technical institutions. While industry and government have taken a leap of faith in the electric direction,the world of formal academia don't seem to be equally electrified by this radical development. If estimates are right - that by 2025 a large percentage of transportation on our roads the world over will be electric - then the big question is, “ who will build them”?
Colleges currently offering high end technical courses in automotive engineering and design have not as yet anticipated this looming development. They are still in the IC era and yet to wake up to the need to develop and include courses on electric vehicles in their complete spectrum, from design to motive power and charging stations. Its a whole new world of engineering - knowledge,challenges and rewards - waiting out there for a brave new 'electric generation'.
“EcoCAR 2: Plugging in to the Future”, is a three-year collegiate engineering program designed as a competition. Its the first of its kind with an embedded mission to educate the next generation of automotive engineers in the essentials of electric vehicle engineering through offering an unparalleled hands-on, real-world experience. The competition challenges 16 universities across North America to reduce the environmental impact of a Chevrolet Malibu without compromising performance, safety and consumer acceptability.
Established by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and General Motors (GM), EcoCAR 2 builds upon a successful 23-year history of DOE Advanced Vehicle Technology Competitions (AVTC). It illustrates the power of public/private partnerships in providing invaluable experience and training to promising, young minds entering the North American job market.
EcoCAR 2 requires students to explore a variety of power train solutions focusing on EV drive technology. They will utilize a Chevrolet Malibu, donated by General Motors, as the integration platform for their advanced vehicle design.During the three-year program EcoCAR 2 teams will follow a real-world Vehicle Development Process (VDP) modeled after GM's VDP. The VDP serves as a road map for the engineering process of designing, building and refining their advanced technology vehicles. Following a VDP will give the teams an opportunity to improve their vehicles' efficiency while retaining consumer satisfaction, performance and safety.
The technological goals of the programme are to construct and demonstrate vehicles and power trains that offer the following advantages over production gasoline vehicles.
• Reduce petroleum energy consumption on the basis of a total fuel cycle analysis
• Reduce fuel consumption
• Reduce net (well to wheel) greenhouse gas emissions
• Reduce criteria tailpipe emissions
• Win/maintain customer acceptability in the areas of vehicle performance, economy, utility, and safety.
Sparking an electrical awakening!
Eco Car2 is a challenging but laudable model that has the power to stimulate worldwide replication. Are India and China listening?. Both these Asian giants have the human resources and wherewithal to develop similar academic models to spark and groom an upcoming generation in the nuances and nuts and bolts of electric mobility in a wide ranging arc of forms and applications. What is lacking perhaps is political will and foresight!