The EcoCAR 2 competition proved to provide innovative designs for energy efficiency in vehicles, leading to a more sustainable planet. Its benefits are widespread and important. But beyond its contribution to sustainability in technology, the competition showed that it provided a sustainable lifestyle to those who participate.
Two members of Colorado State University (CSU) Vehicle Innovation Team (VIT) have gone on to work for General Motors (GM) as a result of their participation in EcoCAR 2 – Peter Riedo and Matthew Stout. This video features how EcoCAR 2 propelled these two former team members to success.
Peter Riedo enrolled in Dr. Thomas Bradley’s Hybrid Powertrain Design class in his junior year at CSU. “After learning about hybrid powertrains, I joined the team over the summer between Years One and Two,” said Riedo.
As part of the Vehicle Innovation Team, Riedo was a controls engineer, focusing primarily on vehicle integration and controller development.
“I was able to work with the fuel cells, high voltage bus, electric motor, sensors, and the stock vehicle. There was always a new challenge,” said Riedo.
His favorite part of being involved in the competition itself was the challenge to create something new and innovative. He explained, “It was so rewarding working on a project that had never been designed before.”
Riedo’s position in EcoCAR 2 qualified him to interview and get hired by GM as a vehicle electrification engineer.
“The two most valuable aspects of working on EcoCAR 2 were working on an innovative new project and learning to work with a larger team,” Riedo said. “There was no user manual about how to build this car. It was truly a feat of innovation.” On the subject of working with a larger team, he said, “Working on a team of 25 engineers also helped me learn how to work with and support others. Smaller group projects didn’t have the same challenges or rewards.”
In conclusion, he described that this competition wasn’t always a good time. “EcoCAR 2 was probably one of the hardest, most frustrating, and draining things I have ever done.” However, despite its challenges and stresses, EcoCAR 2 paid off for Riedo in a big way. “Creating something that has never been done before, and getting it to work, made EcoCAR 2 worth every second.”