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The University of Alabama has been involved in multiple EcoCAR competitions, doing work on the Chevy Camaro in EcoCAR 3, the Chevy Blazer in the EcoCAR Mobility Challenge, and most recently has joined the EcoCAR EV Challenge.

In Year 1 of EcoCAR EV Challenge, UA EcoCAR placed 3rd overall, 1st in Communications and took home the Women in STEM Award.

With around 60 members, its diverse team attracts the best and brightest students interested in STEM, business, and DEI initiatives. UA EcoCAR places a high emphasis on undergraduate involvement and allows its members to engage with one another in a variety of multidisciplinary teams.


The University of Alabama EcoCAR team’s mission is to generate mobility solutions that remove barriers, expand knowledge and develop meaningful experiences for all, forever.

The team is setting the standard for the future of the automotive industry by providing students with an opportunity to gain hands-on experience while with the latest technology. 


  • Offer a distinctive experience for students at the University of Alabama.
  • Develop vehicle control and autonomy algorithms to meet team and competition requirements.
  • Construct and deliver consumer-centric mobility solutions.
  • Conduct meaningful outreach in the Tuscaloosa community.
  • Enforce technical team ownership of DEI practices.

Team Members

Dr. Paul Puzinauskas

Lead Faculty Advisor

Dr. Paul Puzinauskas’s research interests include internal-combustion-engine combustion, heat transfer and instrumentation research.

Currently, Dr. Puzinauskas and his students are working in three areas. The first is to improve optical combustion diagnostic capabilities and apply them to internal-combustion-engine analysis. The current focus of these efforts is a project funded by the National Science Foundation to develop a fiber-optic probe to simplify Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy and Laser-Induced Incandescence in harsh environments. The second area is the optimization of internal-combustion engines used for hybrid electric vehicle applications, and the third is to improve the understanding of the combustion kinetics controlling emission formation in diesel-spray combustion.

Dr. Puzinauskas is also involved in a project for the NSF Research Experience for Undergraduates Fluid Mechanics with Analysis Using Computations and Experiments Program.

Dr. Hwan-Sik Yoon

Lead Connected Automated Vehicle Systems Faculty Advisor

Dr. Hwan-Sik Yoon’s research interests include modeling, simulation and control of dynamic systems. His current research efforts are focused on vehicle powertrain systems, hybrid electric vehicles, autonomous vehicles and the application of machine learning in automotive engineering. Some of the exemplary projects that Dr. Yoon’s research group has conducted include:

  • Development of a high-fidelity engine modeling framework in Simulink.
  • Vision-based estimation and control of excavator manipulator.
  • Energy flow analysis tool development for conventional and hybrid electric vehicles.
  • Time-to-failure determination for automotive system components using machine learning.

Madison O’Brien

Communications Manager

LinkedIn Profile

Madison O’Brien is a second-year marketing major and is the communications manager for the team.

She joined EcoCAR in the 4th year of the Mobility Challenge as the associate communications manager and took over the role of communications manager in the Spring of 2022 during the transition to the EcoCAR EV Challenge.

She has interned at BILSTEIN Shocks and is also a part of the professional business fraternity Alpha Kappa Psi.

Nik Collins

Systems, Design & Integration Lead

LinkedIn Profile

Nik Collins is a graduate student studying mechanical engineering and joined UA EcoCAR in 2020 as a member of the Propulsion Controls and Modeling team. He helped develop the Hardware-in-the-Loop simulator before taking a research position through one of the team's local sponsors starting in the fall of 2021.

Through that year, Nik alos worked under the Propulsion System Integration lead before becoming the associate PSI lead in the spring of 2022. After finishing the competition, he took over as the System Design and Integration lead in the fall of 2022 and will likely hold this position through the rest of the EcoCAR EV Challenge.

Outside of EcoCAR, Nik is also a part of the Crimson Car Club.

Corban Walsh

Project Manager

LinkedIn Profile

Corban Walsh is a graduate student pursing his master’s in business administration. He received his undergrad in aerospace engineering and joined EcoCAR in late 2022.

Prior to EcoCAR, Corban served Baja SAE as its  Suspension and Steering Design lead and as Engineering Manager.

Lena Barrido

Equity in Mobility Lead

LinkedIn Profile

Lena Barrido is a fourth-year chemistry major also pursing her master’s in business administration. Lena joined the DEI team in spring 2023 and took over as Equity in Mobility Lead in Year 2 of the EV Challenge.

Prior to EcoCAR, Lena served as the vice president of inclusion for Pi Beta Phi and is currently the president of the Honors College at the University of Alabama. She has also been an Al’s Pals Mentor, a DCH Volunteer, undergraduate research assistant and Reading Allies Mentor. Lena has also interned at the Few Institute for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery as a Research Assistant and was a Hospital Intern at FLENI.

Joey Westermeyer

Propulsion Controls and Modeling Co-Lead

LinkedIn Profile

Joey Westermeyer is a fourth-year aerospace engineering major and joined the UA EcoCAR team this year.

Prior to EcoCAR, Joey has had experience in Alabama Rocketry Association, Formula SAE and has interned at Area-I (now Anduril) as well as REGENT Craft as a flight software intern. At REGENT, he developed MATLAB/Simulink tools in a Gitlab CI/CD team environment at Y-combinator startup making seagliders.

Sim Archer

Propulsion Controls and Modeling Co-Lead

LinkedIn Profile

Sim Archer is a graduate student pursing his master’s in business administration and master’s in aerospace engineering. He received his undergrad degree in mechanical engineering and joined the UA EcoCAR team this year. Prior to EcoCAR, Sim was a part of the Formula SAE team and is in the MBA Association on campus. He was also a mechanical engineering intern at Textron GSE and Continuous Improvement Intern at Toyo Tires NA.

Sahuj Mehta

Connected and Automated Vehicles Lead

LinkedIn Profile

Sahuj Mehta is a fourth-year student pursing an undergrad degree in computer science, philosophy, economics and math. He is simultaneously taking grad school and pursing a graduate degree in computer science and quantitative economics.

Sahuj has been a part of EcoCAR for 4 years and in addition to EcoCAR, has also been involved with the Culverhouse Investment Management Group, Management Consulting Academy, Student Government Association and Research Ambassadors.

Kayla Hamilton

Engineering Manager

LinkedIn Profile

Kayla Hamilton is a Ph.D student studying electrical engineering. She joined the UA EcoCAR team in spring of 2018 during the end of EcoCAR 3 as an electrical team member.

With the introduction of CAV in the EcoCAR Mobility Challenge, Kayla served as the undergrad CAV associate lead during year 1 of the competition and worked intermittently on the team before taking over as the CAV lead year 4. She was the CAV lead in Year 1 of the EVC and is now continuing as engineering manager in Year 2.

GET InvolveD

Go to and fill out the prospective member form if you are interested in joining the UA EcoCAR Team.

Contact Information


245 7th Ave, Tuscaloosa, AL 35401