Workforce of tomorrow: How today’s automotive leaders are training the next generation to foster an electric and connected future
Posted: June 13, 2023 | Word Count: 640
As today’s leaders in the automotive industry re-imagine what the future of mobility looks like, so too must they prioritize how they invest in their future workforce to ensure they’re up for the challenge and are equipped to carry the industry forward when they’re ready to lead. With an all-electric future quickly on the horizon and autonomous mobility continuing to advance, it is necessary to invest time, money and other resources to provide college students with the training and knowledge of the electric, battery and autonomous trades, coupled with the necessary market skills to hit the ground running after graduation.
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), General Motors (GM) and MathWorks are sponsoring the EcoCAR EV Challenge to help fill the talent pipeline with entry-level employees, who bring applied knowledge and hands-on experience they acquired through this competition. Managed by Argonne National Laboratory, this four-year competition and newest edition to the Advanced Vehicle Technology Competition (AVTC) series will challenge university students to engineer a next-generation battery electric vehicle (BEV) that deploys connected and autonomous vehicle (CAV) technology to implement energy-efficient and customer-pleasing features.
Throughout the EcoCAR EV Challenge, teams will demonstrate the potential of advanced propulsion systems, CAV technologies and other innovative solutions to analyze the energy efficiency of a 2023 Cadillac LYRIQ — a next generation BEV — provided by GM. Students will be tasked with complex, real-world technical engineering challenges, including enhancing the propulsion system of their LYRIQ to optimize energy efficiency while maintaining consumer expectations for performance and driving experience. Year one of the competition kicked off during the Fall 2022 semester and the four-year program will conclude at the end of the Spring 2026 semester.
The participating educational institutions in the EcoCAR EV Challenge include:
- Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University & Bethune-Cookman University
- Georgia Institute of Technology
- Illinois Institute of Technology
- McMaster University
- Mississippi State University
- Ohio State University & Wilberforce University
- University of Alabama
- University of California, Davis
- University of California, Riverside
- University of Texas, Austin
- University of Waterloo
- Virginia Tech
- West Virginia University
The first year of the competition is dedicated to planning and strategizing for the remainder of the competition. This year’s finale took place in May 2023 in Orlando, Florida, with a joint team of students from The Ohio State University (OSU) & Wilberforce University (a historically Black university) crowned the Year 1 overall first place winner. Rounding out the top three are West Virginia University in second place and University of Alabama which finished third. As we look toward year two, which will kick off this fall, each student team will receive a Cadillac LYRIQ that they’ll reengineer to add new energy-efficient and customer-friendly features designed to address the decarbonization needs of the automotive industry.
At the cutting edge of engineering education, AVTCs empower the next generation of engineers and business leaders through hands-on, real-world technical experience. Working closely with mobility and government leaders on a curriculum specifically tailored to align with future industry needs, these competitions help address the toughest mobility challenges facing our nation, while building a clean energy workforce that reflects the diversity of North America.
Since 1988, AVTCs have served as the auto industry’s most effective proving ground for developing new talent — with over 30,000 students from 95 educational institutions participating over the years. Throughout the program, students broaden their skills and expertise through interdisciplinary collaborations with their respective universities, industry leaders and subject matter experts. They also gain access to state-of-the-art testing facilities, and the latest software tools, equipment and hardware. At the end of their college career, AVTC program graduates are more likely to secure top jobs with North America’s premier employers, and often accept higher starting salaries than their peers.
To learn more about the EcoCAR EV Challenge and to follow along on each team’s journey, visit https://avtcseries.org/ and like, follow and subscribe to the competition’s Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn channels.