by Emily King, UT graduate student and communications manager for EcoCar 3 team
The University of Tennessee participates in EcoCAR 3, which is a four-year national advanced vehicle technology competition (AVTC) sponsored by General Motors and the DOE and managed by Argonne National Lab. EcoCAR 3 challenges 16 universities across North America to redesign a 2016 Chevrolet Camaro to reduce its environmental impact but maintain the performance characteristics expected from such an iconic American performance vehicle.
While most of the students are engineering students, EcoCAR 3 is multi-disciplinary to reflect how a car company works in the real world, including students from the College of Engineering, who design and build the car, from the Haslam School of Business, who do project management for the team, and students from the College of Communication and Information, who organize outreach, media relations and public relations for the team. UT’s participation in EcoCAR 3 marks its involvement in 16 AVTCs since the competitions began in 1989.
Because the AVTCs so closely reflects how car companies work, many EcoCAR 3 graduates are hired by car companies before they even graduate from their undergraduate degree. Employers come to the EcoCAR 3 teams asking to hire soon-to-be-graduates because the companies are so confident in the skills that EcoCAR 3 instills in the engineers. UT’s AVTC graduates enter the workforce with the engineering skills to be good at their jobs and the drive to think innovatively and push the direction that American car companies are taking to strengthen their sustainable transportation research and development.
The real success of EcoCAR, and all of the AVTCs that UT has participated in, is not what place the teams come in for the competition (although the closer to first, the better!) but is instead in how many of the alumni are hired in their field of study and how they lead innovative work in the future. Our AVTC graduates continue to support current AVTCs at the university because they believe in continuing these opportunities for generations of engineers to come.
To learn more about EcoCAR 3 and Team Tennessee, visit www.ecocar3.org and follow Team Tennessee on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.