Mechanical engineering student Ted Alley connects tubes in the trunk of the University of Victoria’s EcoCAR 2. The vehicle is the school’s entry in the Advanced Vehicle Technology Competition

Mechanical engineering student Ted Alley connects tubes in the trunk of the University of Victoria’s EcoCAR 2. The vehicle is the school’s entry in the Advanced Vehicle Technology Competition

UVic students prepare for final launch of EcoCAR 2

Three-year university competition to turn gas-powered vehicle to hybrid culminates in testing next week

In the last week of a three-year competition, smiles and a slight sense of giddiness overwhelm students in the Green Garage at the University of Victoria Wednesday.

The source of pride: a Chevrolet Malibu Eco – their EcoCAR 2.

The team of student engineers, nearly 50 of them in computer and mechanical engineering and business programs, started working the project in April 2011. The challenge? Take a gas-powered car, issued in the second year of the competition, and convert it to a plug-in hybrid.

“In terms of hands-on engineering experience it’s amazing,” said mechanical engineering student Ted Alley. “There’s something to be said for making designs and seeing how they work. It’s a really valuable thing to be working on.”

Throughout the competition, the 15 university teams from Canada and the United States are given access to industry-leading technology, knowledge and training, enabling them to redesign the vehicle into a hybrid-electric model to near show-room quality. The competition was established by General Motors, the Canadian Ministry of Natural Resources and the U.S. Department of Energy as a way to provide students with hands-on experience working on vehicle.

The UVic EcoCAR 2 is set to ship to GM Thursday (May 22) for the final leg of the competition. From June 1-12, EcoCAR 2 teams will compete in more than a dozen dynamic and static events in Milford, Mich. and Washington, D.C. to determine which group achieved the best results.

“It’s nice to see it all put together,” said Amanda Kalhouse, GM mentor for the UVic team. Kalhouse, an advanced tech worker at GM in Oshawa, Ont. says she, too, sees the value of the project for university students.

“Being able to put the textbook skills to use, it’s something a lot of students don’t get the option to do. … The talent level that comes out of this is fantastic,” she said. “It shows a great deal of commitment, as well, on the part of the student to (their) career and school.”

UVic and Waterloo University are the only two Canadian schools participating in EcoCAR 2: Plugging into the Future.

For Alley, the project reaffirms what would be an ideal job on his future career path.

“I don’t want to design conventional vehicles. I want to design hybrid vehicles because I like the environmental aspect,” he says.

This is the final stage of the three-year Advanced Vehicle Technology Competition, and the culmination of six years of UVic’s involvement since the first round of EcoCAR 1.

reporter@saanichnews.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

West Shore RCMP is asking for the public’s help in locating Mackenzie Courchene, a Langford teenager.
MISSING: Mackenzie Courchene last seen in Langford on March 2

West Shore RCMP is asking for the public’s help in locating the Langford teenager

Rendering of the proposed Esquimalt public safety building. (Courtesy Township of Esquimalt)
Esquimalt blazes new trail toward modern public safety building

Township using alternative approval process for first time to gauge public support for proposal

Landmarks such as Howard the giant gnome at Galey's Farm in Saanich make a stunning backdrop for celebratory dance in the Greater Victoria Festival Society trailer for its coming Dance Victoria campaign. (Screeshot/Greater Victoria Festival Society)
Residents’ videos help campaign Dance Across Victoria

Celebratory dance clips to be compiled into Greater Victoria Festival Society video

Reynolds Secondary School’s spring musical Freaky Friday features Grace Fouracre as teen Ellie Blake (left) who swaps bodies with her overworked mother, Katherine, played by Nadia Lurie. (Photo courtesy Reynolds Secondary School)
Saanich high school goes virtual with Freaky Friday musical

Reynolds Secondary theatre program to livestream performances March 9-12

Saanich Fire Department. Black Press Media File Photo
Fire displaces three Saanich families from two homes

Saanich firefighters found the fire had spread to a neighbouring home upon arriving

Elvira D’Angelo, 92, waits to receive her COVID-19 vaccination shot at a clinic in Montreal, Sunday, March 7, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
‘It’s been a good week’: Tam hopeful on vaccines as pandemic anniversary nears

Tam says the addition of two new vaccines will help Canadians get immunized faster

Const. Allan Young. Photo: Abbotsford Police Department
Manslaughter charge laid in Nelson death of Abbotsford police officer

Allan Young died after an incident in downtown Nelson last summer

(The Canadian Press)
‘Worse than Sept. 11, SARS and financial crisis combined’: Tourism industry in crisis

Travel services saw the biggest drop in active businesses with 31 per cent fewer firms operating

The Port Alice pulp mill has been dormant since 2015. (North Island Gazette file photo)
Parts recycled, life returning to inlet as as old Port Alice mill decommissioned

Bankruptcy company oversees de-risking the site, water treatment and environmental monitoring

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Donald Alan Sweet was once an all star CFL kicker who played for the Montreal Alouettes and Montreal Concordes over a 13-year career. Photo courtesy of Mission RCMP.
Ex-B.C. teacher who was CFL kicker charged with assault, sexual crimes against former students

Donald Sweet taught in Mission School District for 10 years, investigators seek further witnesses

(Black Press Media files)
Medicine gardens help Victoria’s Indigenous kids in care stay culturally connected

Traditional plants brought to the homes of Indigenous kids amid the COVID-19 pandemic

Most Read