West Virginia University has competed in Advanced Vehicle Technology Competitions (AVTCs) since they began in 1988 with the Methanol Marathon. After participating in 10 of the past AVTCs, the West Virginia University EcoCAR team is ready to use their experiences from previous competitions to compete in the latest AVTC: the EcoCAR EV Challenge.
Made up of over 80 undergraduate and graduate students majoring in different fields such as engineering, computer science, business and communications, the WVU EcoCAR team is prepared to modify the electric architecture of the 2023 Cadillac LYRIQ to promote improved efficiency and functionality and implement connected and automotive vehicle (CAVs) systems.
West Virginia University EcoCAR focuses on bringing together a diverse team consisting of faculty members, graduate, and undergraduate students to guide and sharpen technical skills. Incorporating the competition’s vision as well as improving soft skills helps students engage and prepare for professional work environments, allowing our team to advance towards our goal of increased automotive job placement. Improving the team’s ability to work in diverse environments will produce more opportunity for engagement with underrepresented communities, which will be the focus of most of the planned outreach events in Year 1. Additionally, the WVU team plans to define our success by placing in the top five teams at the end of each year’s competition.
WVU EcoCAR’s SDI team plans to emphasize the importance of integrating additional electrical powertrain components for improved performance and efficiency. An advanced energy management strategy developed by WVU’s Controls and Modeling team will allow the team to take full advantage of the LYRIQ’s electrical powertrain to achieve the target market’s desired performance.
WVU EcoCAR’s CAVs team plans to create the groundwork for developing a 360-degree view of the LYRIQ’s surroundings to autonomously navigate in city and highway environments using adaptive cruise control and lane centering control.
To expand STEM education, the team hosts students at the WVU EcoCAR garage and travels to different communities in rural West Virginia with limited educational access to present information about the competition, create a relationship with the entire state, and provide educational information for the youth to explore and learn about electric vehicles along with other new technologies.
The team is also putting an emphasis on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in the EV Challenge by traveling to underrepresented communities to introduce the importance of STEM education and partnering with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) near the Morgantown area. WVU EcoCAR has begun communication with Morgan State University located in Baltimore, Maryland, and are planning to allow students from their university to participate on our team.
EcoCAR provides WVU students the opportunity to experience an innovative team dynamic that is invaluable to their future careers with hands-on experience and exposure to cutting edge hardware and software tools used by industry.
The team leadership consists of faculty advisors and graduate and undergraduate students that lead the team every year.
- Improve professional presentation skills in regards to final competition.
- Increase diversity through outreach events and collaborations with HBCUs in or near the Morgantown area.
- Place in the first quartile for reports, presentations, and other relatively scored deliverables for Year 1.
Dr. Andrew Nix
Lead Faculty Advisor
Andrew Nix is an Associate Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at West Virginia University (WVU), with degrees from UMBC (BS 1995) and Virginia Tech (MS 1997 and PhD 2003). He is the lead faculty advisor of the WVU EcoCAR EV Challenge team. Dr. Nix has led the EcoCAR team through EcoCAR 3 and the EcoCAR Mobility Challenge from 2014-2022. His expertise includes over 25 years in gas turbine engine design and durability research and development, primarily focused on turbine and combustor heat transfer and cooling, and in advanced pressure gain combustion research. He also has performed research in internal combustion engines for heavy duty and off road applications since joining WVU in 2006. Since 2014, he has led the EcoCAR team in competition deliverables and vehicle competition events, and has worked with EcoCAR graduate students in modeling and vehicle testing focused on improvement of hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) energy efficiency.
Dr. Brian Woerner
Lead Connected Automated Vehicle Systems Faculty Advisor
Brian Woerner is the WVU EcoCAR team CAVs advisor. He is a professor in the Lane Department of Computer Science & Electrical Engineering at WVU. Dr. Woerner has over 30 years of experience teaching and conducting research in the areas of wireless communications, networking and security. He has worked with EcoCAR for the past three years, and enjoys the satisfaction students take from implementing and testing autonomous vehicle functionality for their capstone projects.
Juan Pablo Ibañez
Juan Pablo is from Mexico City, Mexico and joined the West Virginia University EcoCAR team in the fall of 2022. He received his bachelor’s in Electrical Engineering from WVU Tech located in Beckley, West Virginia. He is currently pursuing his Master’s in Business Administration. His favorite part of EcoCAR is being a part of a competition that is recognized throughout the United States that allows for experience, networking, and the opportunity to gain new responsibility.
Kaycee Kiser is from Parkersburg, West Virginia. She received her bachelor’s of science in journalism from West Virginia University, and is currently working towards her Master’s degree in the same subject. She joined EcoCAR in the spring of 2022 as the Communications Manager. Her favorite part of EcoCAR is getting to learn about the aspects of engineering while getting hands-on experience for her career after graduation.
Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Manager
Morgan Bartley graduated in May 2022 with a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering and is now pursuing a Master’s degree in software engineering. She was born and raised in Martinsburg, West Virginia and has been on the EcoCAR team for around a year. She started in undergrad, working on the CAV’s Team for her capstone, and is excited to be able to continue working with the team now as the DEI manager. Her favorite part of EcoCAR is getting to work with like-minded individuals on a project that she is very passionate about.
Systems, Design, & Integration Lead
Colin Kellett is from Neptune, New Jersey. He received his bachelor’s in mechanical engineering and is now pursuing a Master’s degree in the same field while currently working as the SDI Lead on EcoCAR. He joined EcoCAR in Year 1 of the EcoCAR Mobility Challenge, and was appointed as the Engineering Manager in Year 4 of the competition. His favorite part about EcoCAR is being able to gain experience in multiple areas of the engineering design process and test and calibrate systems he designed.
Propulsion, Controls, & Modeling Lead
Dawson Dunnuck is from Brown County, Indiana. He joined the West Virginia University EcoCAR team in the fall of 2021. He graduated from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology with his bachelor’s in Mechanical Engineering and is currently in his second year of getting his Master’s in Mechanical Engineering at WVU. His favorite part of EcoCAR is how team members can learn industry applicable skills that are not available to the average student. He says it’s reassuring to know that the skills he is learning now will apply to almost any future job.
Propulsion, Controls, & Modeling Lead
Holden Fraser is from Clarksburg, West Virginia. He received his bachelor's degree from West Virginia University in Electrical Engineering with an emphasis in Control Systems, and is currently working towards his Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering. He joined EcoCAR and the Propulsion Controls and Modeling team for his senior capstone project and has been a part of the PCM team ever since. His favorite part about EcoCAR is getting to work with a team to develop control algorithms that were implemented in a vehicle that is currently on-road certified.
Connected Automated Vehicle Systems Lead
Jared Diethorn is from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He received his bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Mechanical Engineering at WVU, and is now pursuing a doctorate in the same subject while working on EcoCAR. He joined EcoCAR in the second year of the Mobility Challenge as a graduate student managing the Propulsion Controls and Modeling swim lane. In Year 4, he transitioned to the Connected and Automated Vehicle systems swimlane to lead students in the development of adaptive cruise control systems. His favorite part of the EcoCAR project is developing algorithms to autonomously control the vehicle and testing in the vehicle on closed courses.
Connected Automated Vehicle Systems Lead
Zachary Flanigan is from New Cumberland, West Virginia. He received his bachelor’s in Electrical Engineering at WVU and is now pursuing a Master’s in the same subject while working on EcoCAR. He joined EcoCAR as an undergraduate where he was a part of the PCM swimlane in Year 3 of the EMC. In Year 4, he was appointed as the GRA working on the CAVs swimlane. His favorite part about EcoCAR is developing algorithms that detect objects and working with V2X technology.
Students can volunteer with WVU EcoCAR starting as a freshman and then once they reach sophomore status, they can begin earning course credit through the university in technical elective and Senior Capstone Design courses. The team meets every Monday and Wednesday for class from 2 p.m.-4:40 p.m. in the EcoCAR labs (Engineering Sciences Building G-15/G-18/G-20).
395 Evansdale Drive Morgantown, WV 26505