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The UC Davis team is excited to be a returning school to the Advanced Vehicle Technology Competitions. Our team consists of students and faculty from multiple disciplines and a diverse background of both educational and industry experience. Two of our faculty mentors are AVTC alumni and participated for UC Davis in the Future Truck competition.

UCD’s vision for Year 1 is to recruit and retain a group of motivated and involved students from a range of disciplines across our diverse campus. We aim to involve students not only from STEM majors, but also majors such as Design, Education, Communication, and Sociology to help us create the most effective and inclusive plan to address inequity in mobility. 


Our mission for the EcoCAR EV Challenge is to create the most innovative, sustainable, and energy efficient vehicle, through promoting the education, recruitment, and retention of a diverse and inclusive workforce that focuses on addressing equity in mobility issues.


  • To recruit and retain a diverse group of undergraduate and graduate team members and provide them a good introduction to common organizational practices and tools that will aid them when entering the industry.
  • To build relationships and partner with groups on the UC Davis campus to ensure the accessibility and inclusivity of our onboarding process in line with our DEI commitments.
  • To build an ambitious yet achievable blueprint for the team to follow for the duration of the challenge. We aim to incorporate features that elevate the commute experience not just for the occupants but also other nearby vehicles and pedestrians, all through the lens of environmental impacts.

Team Members

Dr. Michael R. Hill

Faculty Advisor

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Michael R. Hill is Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at UC Davis. Prof. Hill joined the faculty in 1996, working on fatigue and fracture assessment in metallic materials. His research has a special emphasis on residual stress with applications in materials and processes. Mike values opportunities for projects and industrial problem solving that feed ideas back to university research and teaching.

Christopher Nitta

Faculty Advisor

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Christopher Nitta is an Associate Professor of Teaching in the Computer Science Department. Prof. Nitta is interested in computer science education and improving energy efficiency of both computer architecture and transportation.

Dahlia Garas

Faculty Advisor

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Dahlia Garas is an EVTC alumni, and her full-time role is managing a consumer focused EV Research Center. She is excited to now be an advisor for the new UC Davis EcoCAR team.

Ajay Suresh

Project Manager

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Ajay is a first year graduate student in the Electrical and Computer Engineering department at UC Davis with a focus on data science and is re-entering education after three years of work experience in the renewable energy field.

Lauren B. Taylor

Communications Manager

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Lauren is a fifth-year PhD candidate in the Department of Communications at UC Davis. Her research focuses on the intersection of child development, mental health, and social media use, with a particular emphasis on neurodiversity.

Vincent Colas

Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Manager

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Vincent is a fourth year Environmental Policy, Analysis and Planning student from Reunion Island. Currently doing research on active transportation mode shifts and the impact of AB-60 driver’s license on the transportation sector at the National Center for Sustainable Transportation (NCST).

Nathaniel Lim

Systems, Design, & Integration Lead

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Nathaniel is a fourth-year undergraduate student in mechanical engineering. Experienced in mechanical design, robotics, automation and control systems within the context of the EV industry.

Abhigyan Majumdar

Propulsion, Controls, & Modeling Lead

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Abhigyan is a second-year graduate student in the Department of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering, specializing in control systems. Building on a rich experience working with lithium-ion batteries.

Hugo Michielsen-Cerdan

Connected Automated Vehicle Systems Lead

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Hugo is a first-year graduate student in the Department of Computer Science. Returning from the solar energy field to delve into topics of computer science that can be used to improve the daily lives of all, particularly regarding autonomous systems.

GET InvolveD

For students looking to get involved with our EcoCAR team, there will always be an opportunity to participate. We currently hold weekly leadership and whole team meetings in Kemper Hall and each team lead organizes regular meeting sessions for their specific team. If you are interested in joining, please reach out through any of our social media links or at our email address (all provided below!).

Contact Information


1 Shields Ave, Davis, CA 95616


please contact Professor Mike Hill or Christopher Nitta at