November 30, 2007

GM teams with U.S. and Canadian governments to sponsor EcoCAR challenge

Los Angeles, California – A new student competition, EcoCAR: The NeXt Challenge has been announced, with sponsorship by General Motors, the U.S. Department of Energy and Natural Resources Canada. EcoCAR will challenge university engineering students across North America to re-engineer a GM vehicle to achieve improved fuel economy and reduce emissions, while retaining the vehicle’s performance and consumer appeal.

Students will design and build advanced propulsion solutions that emulate the vehicle categories from the California Air Resources Board (CARB) zero emissions vehicle (ZEV) requirements. Students will be encouraged to explore a variety of solutions, including electric, hybrid, plug-in hybrid and fuel cells, along with lightweight materials, improved aerodynamics and alternative fuels and energy carriers such as ethanol, biodiesel, hydrogen and electricity.

EcoCAR follows the engineering competition Challenge X, also sponsored by GM and the U.S. Department of Energy, along with other government, automotive and technology industry partners. The Challenge X competition, which began in 2004 and concludes in May 2008, includes 17 North American universities. The new program will launch in the 2008-2009 academic year as a three-year program, with General Motors providing production vehicles and parts, seed money, technical mentoring and operational support. A selection process, open to all accredited engineering schools in Canada, the U.S. and Mexico, will begin on December 3, with approximately 16 teams selected in April 2008 for the competition.

“EcoCAR is a reflection of GM’s philosophy that there is no single silver bullet that will solve the world’s energy challenges,” said Tom Stephens, group vice-president of GM Global Powertrain and Quality. “Our approach is based on energy diversity and customer choice, using advanced propulsion technologies that play a significant role in displacing large amounts of petroleum and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”

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