Technical Contributions

AVTC teams follow the industry standard of designing and developing their advanced vehicle architecture and controls in a virtual environment using state-of-the-art industry tools and practices. To date, AVTCs are the only programs in the world that follow an industry-modeled Vehicle Development Process (VDP). As a result, students develop skills that can be easily transferred from academia to industry.

Often students graduate from these programs and go into industry with the knowledge of environmental impact, advanced technologies and controls, and well-to-wheel view. Over the years, students have designed, implemented, and refined many advanced automotive technologies. Take a look back at all of the automotive contributions, innovations, and highlights throughout AVTCs!

1988 - 1993

  • 1988
    Methanol Marathon begins with converting 1988 Chevrolet Corsica’s to operate on M85
  • 1989
    First full emissions testing event at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in Ann Arbor, Michigan
  • 1991
    Natural Gas Vehicle (NGV) Challenge began in 1991 when General Motors donated a GMC Sierra 2500 pickup truck to each university
  • 1992
    Siemens Automotive implemented Old Dominion University’s design for a multi-alternative-fuel injector, which was used in Chrysler CNG vehicles
  • 1993
    AVTCs added dynamic events including ride and handling and engineering design review into competitions
  • 1993
    First ground-up vehicles were built during HEV Challenge
  • 1993
    The competition added a mini-series, Zero Emissions Vehicle (ZEV) Challenge, to test the electric vehicle aspect of the ground up vehicles
  • 1993
    UC-Davis successfully built the first plug-in hybrid electric vehicle in AVTC history

1994 - 1997

  • 1994
    HEVs built by University of Illinois at Chicago, University of Maryland, and University of California-Davis were used to evaluate SAE draft HEV emissions test procedures for J1711
  • 1994
    The University of Maryland developed a hybrid electric vehicle similar to the Toyota Prius, which didn’t debut until 1996
  • 1994
    Kohler Engines implemented the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s small engine emissions to improve Kohler engine performance
  • 1995
    HEV Challenge marked the largest fleet of hybrid electric vehicles in the United States at that time, with a total of 51 vehicles
  • 1995
    Consumer acceptability was added into the competitions
  • 1995
    Propane is introduced as an alternative fuel for AVTCs with Chrysler-donated Minivans for the Propane Vehicle Challenge
  • 1996
     The first pickup truck platform was used when Chrysler donated Dodge Dakota pickup trucks for the final year of Propane Vehicle Challenge
  • 1997
    General Motors donated Chevrolet Malibu’s to teams competing in the Ethanol Vehicle Challenge
  • 1997
    Ethanol Vehicle Challenge marked the first time in AVTCs that teams were allowed to reconfigure and alter the vehicle’s powertrain control modules

1998 - 2003

  • 1998
    Fuel cell technology is introduced into the program
  • 1998
    The student competitions program officially becomes known as Advanced Vehicle Technology Competitions
  • 1998
    General Motors adds Chevrolet Silverado’s as the vehicle platform for the Ethanol Vehicle Challenge
  • 1999
     Virginia Tech became the first university to run at least one competition event as a fuel cell vehicle
  • 1999
    General Motors donates Chevrolet Suburbans to teams competing in FutureTruck
  • 2000
    The final competition year of Ethanol Vehicle Challenge was held entirely in Canada – a first in AVTC history
  • 2001
    University of Idaho created the world’s first Tri-brid, combining hydraulic, ultracapacitors, and a combustion engine in one vehicle.
  • 2001
    Ford Motor Company donates Ford Explorers to teams competing in the final three years of FutureTruck

2004 - 2010

  • 2004
    Five AVTC teams utilized hydrogen as a second fuel
  • 2004
    General Motors introduces the Chevrolet Equinox as the vehicle platform for Challenge X: Crossover to Sustainable Mobility
  • 2005
    The first scored communications/outreach program was introduced in AVTCs
  • 2006
    Outstanding Women in Engineering awards were introduced in AVTCS
  • 2006
    University of Waterloo competed successfully in every event as a fully functional fuel cell vehicle – a first for a fuel cell vehicle in AVTCs
  • 2007
    The University of California at Davis used plug-in hybrid technology for their energy source
  • 2008
    General Motors donated Saturn Vue’s to teams participating in EcoCAR: The NeXt Challenge
  • 2008
    EcoCAR: The NeXt Challenge marked the first time a hardware-in-the loop activity was introduced into an academic setting
  • 2008
    Teams were introduced to prismatic energy storage systems for the first time
  • 2009
    Emissions and energy consumption events using SAE J1711 Utility Factor (UF) standards were introduced

2011 - Present

  • 2011
    General Motors donated Chevrolet Malibu’s to 15 universities competing in EcoCAR 2: Plugging In to the Future
  • 2011
    EcoCAR 2 implemented a 4-cycle drive cycle to reflect current test methods at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
  • 2012
    Several teams utilized 3D printing for vehicle development during EcoCAR 2
  • 2012
    AVTCs added upstream criteria (CO, NOx, THC) emission testing into the scored deliverables, as well as measuring electric energy consumption during EcoCAR 2
  • 2013
    Colorado State University designed and built their own fuel cell stacks for their hydrogen vehicle
  • 2014
    The University of Washington designed a tactile shape changing touch screen using overlay technology
  • 2014
    Ohio State University developed a vehicle powertrain model that could simulate wheel slip and traction control simulation
  • 2014
    Innovation becomes a new focus area in AVTCs
  • 2015
    General Montors donate a 2016 Chevrolet Camaro to each of the 16 EcoCAR 3 participating schools
  • 2015
    Teams began utilizing computer vision for Advanced Driver Assistance System Applications