On Friday January 24, 2020, the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University EcoCAR team had the opportunity to welcome special guest Daniel Simmons, U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy on their campus in Daytona Beach, FL. Accompanying Mr. Simmons was Zachery Michael, DOE Senior Advisor and Acting Chief of Staff for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy; Mark Smith, Technology Integration Program Manager, Vehicle Technologies Office; and Connie Bezanson, Education and Outreach Manager, Vehicle Technologies Program.
DOE, through Argonne National Laboratory, provides overall competition management, team evaluation, and technical and logistical support for EcoCAR, the premier DOE-sponsored student vehicle competition. Through the EcoCAR program, ERAU students have received hands-on engineering experience and many have moved on to take jobs in the automotive industry, bringing with them an enthusiasm for advanced vehicle technologies.
During the visit, DOE members were introduced to the ERAU Administration and Faculty that help lead the project at ERAU, as well as the student leadership of the team. ERAU Project Manager, Robert Consolo, provided the DOE guests with an overview of the 2019 Chevrolet Blazer and the team’s plans to modify the vehicle to meet and exceed the challenges that EcoCAR has set for the competition.
Included in the overview was a full tour of the EcoCAR garage. The team was able to highlight their long history of hard working ERAU students who have benefited from the Advanced Vehicle Technology Competitions (AVTCs). DOE members were also able to test drive the team’s developmental automated vehicle used for Connected and Automated Vehicle Simulation and testing.
“It really is something special that you’ve got going on here,” said Simmons. “It makes me happy to see that our budget is going to good use and seeing students get jobs with the experience they gain through EcoCAR gives me great confidence in the program.”
The Embry-Riddle EcoCAR team would like to thank the members from DOE for their continued support, and to those who took the time to visit the ERAU campus and spend time with the EcoCAR team.