U.S. Department of Energy - Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

Clean Cities

Virginia Tech Wins EcoCAR Competition

June 22, 2011

On June 16, a team of students from Virginia Tech learned they were the overall winners of "EcoCAR: The NeXt Challenge" after designing and building an extended-range electric vehicle using E85 (ethanol). Virginia Tech competed against 15 other universities in the three-year competition sponsored by DOE and General Motors. The competition helps train students to become the next generation of workers the United States needs to lead the global auto industry.

Photo of a car crossing a bridge.

Virginia Tech's winning EcoCAR heads into Washington D.C., at the completion of the three-year competition.
Credit: DOE

The EcoCAR competition challenged participants to re-engineer a GM-donated vehicle to minimize the vehicle's fuel consumption and emissions, while maintaining its utility, safety, and performance. Throughout the competition, the Virginia Tech team hit incremental goals that helped the vehicle achieve the equivalent of nearly 82 miles per gallon, a 70% improvement in fuel efficiency over the stock vehicle. The Ohio State University was second, and the University of Waterloo took third place. See the DOE press release and the EcoCAR website.