EcoCAR’s Consumer Campaign at Georgia Tech’s 14th Annual Earth Day Celebration!

Date: April 22, 2011

About the Event:The Consumer Campaign is designed to raise awareness of alternative fuel vehicles and our team’s specific vehicle architecture. We have chosen the 14th Annual Earth Day Celebration on Georgia Tech’s campus as the stage to host our Consumer Campaign. Georgia Tech anticipates more than 3,000 people on April 22, securing it as one of the largest Earth Day events in the southeast.


Creating the Green Consumers of Tomorrow!

On November 17th 2010, two members of the Outreach team visited Creekside Middle School in Georgia. We were very excited to be greeted with such happy 8th grade faces. We taught five periods of 8th grade Life Sciences. We were able to teach them about alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles. The highlight of the visit for the students was the competitive activity that we had planned for them after the presentation. We challenged the class with developing an alternative fuel or advanced technology vehicle and coming up with a magazine advertisement for their consumer campaign. The students had to pick between e85, gas/electric hybrid, full electric and hydrogen fuel cell energy sources.  The teams were able to pick the car type, size and interior features. They were challenged with keeping price and consumer appeal in mind. The team were given 25 minutes to draw a magazine ad and 2 minutes to present their ad and their car to the class. The team that received the most votes for their ad was the winner of the class. The award was a chance to visit our EcoCAR Garage on Georgia Tech Campus. We were absolutely drained by time we left the school at the end of the day but we believed that we help create the green-consumers of tomorrow!

Georgia Tech Report from NSF

by Scott Paik, Electrical Group Leader

In December 2010, we have been very busy preparing the car to attend the NSF Conference which took place between January 3rd and January 7th. As the final exam week was creeping towards us, we quickly wrapped up our control strategy and did a safety evaluation. On January 3rd we finally shipped our car for display at the NSF Conference at Cobb Galleria Center right here in Atlanta. I know, we wanted to drive it there too.

At the conference, we were joined by Penn State, Virginia Tech, Missouri S&T, and Ohio State to promote the EcoCAR The NeXt Challenge. On the second day of the conference we had a swarm of high school students come in to see what’s going on. I remember this one student bombarded me with questions about the 2-Mode EVT which I thought was very surprising for a high school student. I forgot your name, but you should apply to Georgia Tech. We have some work for you!

NSF was fun. I expected the conference to be somewhat like a thesis defense, but professors and researchers there were chill and just interested to see our car. It was very enlightening to listen to ideas and perspectives from researchers all around the country.

Our EcoCAR is now back in campus and the electrical group has already stripped the wires out from the back. Stay tuned as we continue to improve our control strategy!

(pictures below were taken when I was not busy. The conference was very crowded)

National AFV Day Odyssey 2010

Just imagine how much fuel metro Atlanta could save if all the motorists
and business fleets in the region used high-efficiency, alternative-fuel
vehicles. Now, imagine what would happen if the same thing happened
in cities all over the U.S. Georgia Tech’s EcoCAR Team and Clean
Cities Atlanta offered a glimpse of that vision at its National Alternative
Fuel Vehicles Day Odyssey on October 15 at Georgia Tech’s Kessler
Campanile. The expo, ran from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and featured displays of
alternative fuel vehicles, the latest in fleet technology, student projects and
more. The event was free and open to the public.
Sponsored by Georgia Tech’s EcoCAR Team and Clean Cities Atlanta,
a government-industry partnership sponsored by the U.S. Department of
Energy, the Odyssey was part of a nationwide effort to reduce America’s
consumption of foreign oil. Don Francis, executive director of Clean Cities
Atlanta, said this event showcased how much fuel can be saved through
advancing technology, and offered information on programs such as
tax credits and other incentives that can make switching to the newer
technology less expensive. “Far too many people are unaware of recent
advances, and business owners will be surprised by how much a switch
to alternative fuel can save over time in their operations budget,” Francis
said. “The Odyssey included a wealth of good ideas, innovation and food
for thought.”

Georgia Tech’s EcoCAR team was on hand with their vehicle. Now
beginning the third year of the EcoCar: The NeXt Challenge, Georgia
Tech’s team displayed their Chevrolet Vue donated to the competition by
General Motors. The Georgia Tech team is working to double the car’s
city mileage and increase its highway efficiency by 40 percent through
replacing the 2.4 liter engine with a 1.6 liter ethanol engine and adding a
hybrid transmission, electric motor and gearing and a lithium ion battery
pack.“We are pleased to be part of this event to showcase our vehicle
that has doubled mileage, decreased net impact on the environment and
increased our national energy security,” said Ryan Melsert, Georgia Tech’s
EcoCAR team leader. “We were happy to show how the Georgia Tech
community can help solve the environmental and national security issues
facing the country.”

Georgia Tech Earth Day 2010

The goal of Georgia Tech’s Earth Day Celebration was to focus attention
on the environment and increase people’s awareness of the world
around them. With an annual participation of more than 3,000 people,
this is consistently one of the largest Earth Day celebrations in the
southeast. The event was free and open to the public, and features eco-
friendly giveaways, recycling opportunities, a clothing swap, an office
supply exchange, live music, and organic popcorn. Our theme this year
was “Celebrate Our World.” The GT EcoCAR team was among the 70
exhibitors. We passed out buttons, brochures and invaluable knowledge!
We focused on educating the Earth Day visitors and other participants on
what the team is doing to create a greener Earth. We are really starting
to gain awareness and increased interest on campus! We cannot wait to
unveil our vehicle next semester.

Georgia Tech Hosts Young Engineers

The FIRST Robotics League Championship was located at the Georgia Dome. We had the opportunity to host one of the competing teams. The Rocketeers traveled all the way down from New York to compete and it was an honor to have them in our garage. Our team leader, Ryan Meslert, walked the boys through our garage and explained in detail how we were re-engineering the vehicle. It was amazing to see their eyes light up when we told them they too could have the chance to gain such incredible hands-on experience. We educated the team about the competition goals, our national sponsors and what we have learned so far. They even gave us shirts so that we could feel like we were part of their team. Go Rocketeers!

Influencer Campaign

Atlanta, GA – Atlantans are locked in a love affair with their automobiles – statewide Georgians traveled nearly 100 billion miles. But, the relationship comes with a price: increased air pollution and asthma rates, high fuel costs, a dependence on imported fuels, and high levels of climate change pollution. Now in Year Two of EcoCAR: The NeXt Challenge, Georgia Institute of Technology students participating in the engineering competition along with Environment Georgia had the opportunity to host its Influencer Campaign April 7, 2010 to highlight the steps that Atlantans are taking to buck the trend.
With more Americans focused on the environmental and economic consequences of our oil dependence, carmakers are scrambling to offer customers the cleanest, most fuel efficient cars. Between ground-breaking research at Georgia Tech, electric car start-ups and new bio-fuel stations Atlanta is poised to take advantage of a new generation of automobiles.Environment Georgia is a statewide, non-government, citizen-based environmental advocacy organization. The advocates work to protect Georgia’s environments on issues such as Clean Water, Keep Georgia Green, Global Warming, Save Georgia’s Coast, Clean Air, and Clean Energy.Environment Georgia works closely with Atlanta’s legislators to submit relevant reports and petitions to protect Georgia’s environment.
“We are experiencing a paradigm shift in the transportation industry,” said Ryan Melsert, Team Leader of the Georgia Tech EcoCAR team. “While there have been many short-term perturbations in the past, never before have three such immense and independent forces come together at the same time to transform the industry; the needs to increase our national security, to increase the economic stability of our fuels, and to combat climate change. Georgia Tech is extremely fortunate to be able to take part in this transformation.”
GT EcoCAR joined alternative fuel entrepreneurs to highlight the next generation of automobiles and release Environment Georgia’s new report “Plug-In Cars: Powering America Toward a Cleaner Future” which highlights Georgia Tech’s EcoCAR: The NeXt Challenge Team. We focused on the importance of alternative fuels and our collaboration with the Department of Energy, GM and Clean Cities. The event was held at our garage so we walked through the design of our vehicle. We invited other entrepreneurs to come out and speak so that we could have an extreme impact on Environment Georgia. We encouraged Environment Georgia to petition to Atlanta’s legislators for higher carbon emissions regulations and a harder fight towards clean cars and clean air.

Georgia Tech 2010 Auto Show

While our engineers worked away in the garage, Outreach was out braving
the heat at the Georgia Tech 2010 Auto Show. Although we did not have
our car available to show off, our national sponsor General Motors gave
us the opportunity to set-up by their vehicles! It was such a treat to be able
to educate the auto show visitors on the EcoCAR: The NeXt Challenge
and how GM donated our vehicle that we are re-engineering. We focused
on educated the masses about what the GT EcoCAR Team were doing to
promote eco-innovation within the automotive industry. We cannot wait to
have our environmentally-enhanced vehicle at the auto show next year.