Come Along for an EcoCAR Ride and Drive

By Dora Smith

EcoCAR2 universities use Siemens PLM software to design electric vehicles.

I had the opportunity a few weeks ago to be a part of the EcoCAR2 Year 2 Competition where I met some of the amazing future engineers in the photo above – like Nick Skadberg, Zach Stephens and Laura Nash. I was at the event to judge the communications outreach programs of the 15 universities competing. That’s part of what makes EcoCAR such a unique student competition. Teams arejudged on engineering, business and communication skills. It’s not enough to have a good design if you can’t package and present it in a compelling way to the market.

As part of the communications outreach, teams must reach out to inform and educate their local markets on cleaner energy and advanced automotive technologies. I was most impressed with the teams outreach to grade school students to not only educate but encourage them to consider a STEM career.

The funnest part of the event was the “ride and drive.” Check out this video on my ride and drive with Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology.

I love Josh’s comment:

“It’s been incredible. It’s almost hard to believe that I did this. That I was part of the team that did this…It’s quite something.”

Rose-Hulman’s EcoCAR team won several awards at the competition, including Best Creative Promotion of EcoCAR and Best Sportsmanship. Here is the team in action:

Rose-Hulman student engineers used NX software from Siemens in the design of their electric vehicle.

Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology uses Siemens PLM software in the design of their electric EcoCAR2 vehicle.

Penn State was the overall Year 2 winner. They credit advanced technologies provided through the EcoCAR2 program in this Penn State News article: IT steers Penn State’s EcoCAR2 team to victory.

Penn State University uses software from Siemens PLM in the design of their EcoCAR.
“Everything we do relies on cutting-edge technology,” said Gary Neal, department head with the Applied Research Laboratory and an adjunct professor in the Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering department, who is one of the team’s faculty advisers. “It plays a huge role in the program. Whether it’s the complex computer programs we use or the online discussion boards, technology is key.”

The article notes that they used Siemens’ NX software along with Mathworks to ensure system components fit and functioned properly. They also virtually tested the vehicle with the software. Here is the car in action:

Penn State uses Siemens PLM Software in the design of their EcoCAR2 vehicle.

For more from the EcoCAR2 Year 2 Competition, check out my photos from the event and those on the Advanced Vehicle Technology Competition’s Flickr stream. Find out more about the student competitions we support on our Academic Projects and Competitions website.

– Dora


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This article first appeared on the Siemens Digital Industries Software blog at