The University of Alabama’s EcoCAR 3 team faces the challenge of redesigning a Chevrolet Camaro and making it more environmentally friendly while maintaining the power that is synonymous with the name.
“The tech team’s overall goals for the EcoCAR project are focused on meeting or exceeding the stock V6 Camaro’s performance marks, but to do it more efficiently by designing it as a hybrid vehicle,” Evan Graves, a UA EcoCAR 3 team member said. “We want to lower emissions and energy consumption as much as possible, while still keeping the Camaro’s image of being a sports car.”
At this point in the competition the team does not have the car. All work being done now is design and research. However, the team is doing as much hands-on work as possible to learn the equipment that will be utilized when the vehicle arrives later in Year Two.
“Currently, we have groups working to learn all the ins and outs of the equipment we will be using for testing our components…” Graves said. “This involves things like the chassis dynamometer, which we can put the whole vehicle on and obtain test data; smaller component dynamometers where we will test things like the electric motors that are going into the vehicle; and emissions systems, which allow us to track the emissions of the vehicles as we test it on the chassis dyno.”
There are four sub-teams within the engineering team — mechanical, simulation and modeling, controls, and electrical. The entire engineering team is confident and believes they have the necessary resources and motivation to compete against the top competitors.
“The UA team feels we have a competitive advantage because of the facilities that we have at our disposal,” Graves said. “Not every team has access to things like the chassis dyno and emissions systems that we have. Even some teams that do have access to those systems don’t have them on campus and all in the same building. That’s going to be very beneficial when we start to do testing.”
Written By: Doug Killough