Close this search box.

EcoCAR Winter Workshop driving teams forward, energizing sponsors

By: Em Jankauski

DETROIT, Mich. — There’s no place like Motor City — especially for the EcoCAR EV Challenge’s 13 competing teams. All are rolling into town for the competition’s Winter Workshop held at the American Axle and Manufacturing headquarters in Detroit, Mich. from Feb. 2-4.

This four-year collegiate automotive engineering competition challenges its competitors to engineer a next-generation battery electric vehicle, or BEV, that utilizes automation and vehicle-to-everything, or V2X, connectivity to implement energy efficient and customer-pleasing features all while meeting the auto industry’s need to decarbonize.

“This workshop should catapult teams forward in the development process and position the teams to exceed,” said Jesse Alley, senior program manager for the EcoCAR EV Challenge.

The three-day workshop provides training and mentorship for the subteams from the competition’s subject-matter experts — its sponsors.

“#TeamAAM is excited to welcome the EcoCAR EV Challenge students to the Winter Workshop at AAM’s Detroit Campus,” said Joe Mueller, AAM Executive Director – Electrification. “As a Visionary Sponsor, AAM is committed to supporting STEM education and helping grow and mentor the next generation of automotive talent. Our Detroit Campus is in the heart of the Motor City, and is home to our World Headquarters and Advanced Technology Development Center, AAM’s nucleus of innovation. This is where we are coming together to invent and design technologies to drive a better future. It’s an exceptional site to host the Winter Workshop—where students are developing the clean mobility solutions of tomorrow.”

The workshop will kick off with a plenary session featuring a mixture of government and industry speakers including Alley, Connell D’Souza, MathWorks’ manager of education programs; Matt Girlando, American Axle and Manufacturing’s vice president; Sarah Ollila, the U.S. Department of Energy Vehicle Technologies Office’s program manager of materials technology; and David Stutzman, General Motors’ chief engineer of the Cadillac LYRIC.

Students will also get to network with EcoCAR sponsors at the Sponsor Social Networking and Recruitment event on Friday, Feb. 2.

Additionally, teams will participate in industry-style Technical Design Reviews, where engineering subteams will present to a panel of judges covering subteam-specific topics explaining their engineering analysis, methodology and conclusions.

“During the Technical Design Reviews and Subject Matter Expert Training Circuits, students will be able to get real-time feedback to improve their designs,” Alley said. “It’s a tremendous learning process that will propel the students forward in their work this year and as they begin their careers.”

Alley’s hoping that interaction between the students and sponsors leaves the sponsors energized — perhaps even reigniting that spark sponsors had as students.

“I hope this workshop reminds them of the passions that drew them into the engineering field and the automotive industry to begin with,” Alley said. “What students lack in experience, they generally make up for in exuberance, and I hope some of that rubs off on our sponsors.