EcoCAR EV Challenge

The EcoCAR EV Challenge is a collegiate automotive competition, providing an unparalleled, hands-on educational experience that transforms the traditional classroom environment into a hub of automotive innovation. The competition will challenge up to 14 North American universities to engineer a next generation battery electric vehicle (BEV) to implement energy efficient and customer-pleasing features, while meeting the decarbonization need of the automotive industry.

The four-year program will model industry-best practices with expanded focus on vehicle connectivity, simulation, and controls development to enable cooperative driving automation. EcoCAR will include a major focus on equity in mobility and Diversity, Equity & Inclusion in STEM to help foster clean energy mobility solutions and opportunities for all.

The U.S. Department of Energy, General Motors and MathWorks are headline sponsors and are pleased to announce EcoCAR EV Challenge – the latest Advanced Vehicle Technology Competition (AVTC) series which will kick off in fall of 2022 and conclude in 2026. Managed by Argonne National Laboratory, this public/private partnership fosters government and industry relationships to enable the next generation of engineers and business leaders to solve the toughest mobility challenges facing our nation, while building a clean energy workforce.

Make sure your university is part of North America’s premier collegiate automotive engineering program. Applications are due January 20, 2022

The overall vision of EcoCAR is to provide an opportunity for university students to participate in hands-on automotive R&D at the leading edge of technology by using contemporary industry standards and practices.


  • Provide a hands-on, real-world experience in STEM that:
    • Fosters practical learning in a safe environment
    • Incorporates the use of math-based tools to improve engineering education
    • Enables participants to develop and refine complex vehicle control and safety systems by using industry testing/validation processes and methodologies
    • Prepares students to work in the automotive, mobility and energy industries
    • Fosters a clean energy workforce that reflects the diversity of North America
  • Develop highly-skilled engineering leaders and innovators with a strong understanding of:
    • Advanced propulsion systems
    • Propulsion system control
    • Connected and automated vehicle technologies
    • Automotive mechatronics
    • Model-based design (MBD) techniques
    • Structural design and analysis
    • Other critical engineering disciplines
  • Support university teams in the recruitment of students in the following disciplines:
    • Mechanical Engineering
    • Electrical and Computer Engineering
    • Computer Science and Software Engineering
    • Industrial Engineering, Systems Engineering and other disciplines
    • Communications and Business

Technical Goals

  • Meet decarbonization needs of the automotive industry by applying automation and connectivity technologies to state-of-the-art battery electric vehicle platforms:
    • Utilize a combination of on-board sensors and bidirectional vehicle-to-everything (V2X) connectivity to implement energy efficient and customer-pleasing automated control features.
    • Implement and refine advanced powertrain, charging and thermal systems to use grid electricity intelligently.
  • Identify and address specific equity and electrification challenges in the future of mobility through the application of innovative hardware and software solutions.
  • Establish and maintain effective relationships with team-selected audience to guide design decisions, and implementation throughout the vehicle development process.

Support for Teams Selected

Participating universities will receive extensive support from competition-level sponsors to enable their success throughout the EcoCAR program. Pending final budget authorization, each selected university will receive funding for:

  • Seed money for program initiation support for new and veteran AVTC universities, and for minority-serving institutions
  • Graduate and undergraduate student support
  • Seed money for diversity, equity and inclusion efforts
  • Cash prize money, travel support, and vehicle shipping
  • A production GM BEV platform vehicle and production GM North American service parts
  • Industry-leading components and hardware
  • MathWorks modeling and simulation tools
  • Industry mentors and subject matter experts

EcoCAR EV Challenge Headline Sponsors

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), in partnership with Argonne National Laboratory (ANL), provide program management, team evaluation, logistical support, in order to educate the next generation of automotive engineers and accelerate the development of technologies of interest to the DOE and the automotive industry.

General Motors provides each competing team with a production vehicle, as well as vehicle components, seed money, technical mentoring and operational support.

MathWorks provides teams with a full suite of software tools, simulation models, training, technical mentoring and operational support.

Other sponsors provide hardware, software and training.

Get Started Now

Learn more by checking out our Getting Started Guide.