When many college students were heading to the beach for Spring Break, the Mississippi State University EcoCAR 2 team was at the Gulf Coast Children's Fair in Biloxi, Mississippi. The two-day environmental event organized by the Gulf Regional Planning Commission and the EPA gave MSU students a chance to talk to local elementary students about pollution and the benefits of keeping the air clean.
EcoCAR 2 Teams Spread the Word on Alternative Energy
Kimberly DeClark | Advanced Vehicle Technology Competitions, Argonne National Laboratory
The student teams of EcoCAR 2, a three-year competition sponsored by the DOE and General Motors, are doing more than re-engineering Chevrolet Malibus from the ground up to be more energy-efficient. They’re reaching out to their communities to educate others about the importance of fuel consumption and the technologies that will make future automobiles greener and cleaner, without sacrificing performance or safety.
When many college students were heading to the beach for Spring Break, the Mississippi State University EcoCAR 2 team was at the Gulf Coast Children’s Fair in Biloxi, Mississippi. The two-day environmental event organized by the Gulf Regional Planning Commission and the EPA gave MSU students a chance to talk to local elementary students about pollution and the benefits of keeping the air clean.
More than 800 third graders from all over the state attended the fair, where they learned about cars of the future and alternative energy forms that decrease pollution. The younger students and their families exchanged ideas with the EcoCAR 2 competitors, trying to stump them with unusual engineering questions. The event proved an excellent opportunity for multiple organizations to educate the community about cleaning up the air.
MSU wasn’t the only team focused on educating youngsters, the University of Waterloo and North Carolina State EcoCAR 2 teams both worked with schools this spring. Waterloo presented to fifth and sixth graders at Driftwood Park Public School in Kitchener, Ontario about alternative fuels. Several hundred students, parents and teachers gathered in the school gymnasium, where Waterloo’s Director of Outreach spoke to them about the team, the EcoCAR 2 competition overall and other important environment- and energy-related issues. The students also had a chance to see videos from Waterloo and a demonstration of how the team’s plug-in hybrid vehicle architecture will work. Waterloo EcoCAR 2 even showed students how to calculate their own carbon footprint.
NC State reached out to a several local middle schools teachers who happened to be on its Raleigh campus for the day. The team delivered a presentation about the EcoCAR 2 competition in an effort to garner enough interest that teachers would allow NC State to hold an event at their middle schools. The team feels that the best way to bring on the next generation of eco-engineers is to educate young people about engineering opportunities at an early age.
The Colorado State University EcoCAR 2 team took their message to the 2012 Denver Auto Show. The show was open to over 60,000 members of the public for five consecutive days, giving the team over 40 hours to discuss the future of automotive technology with thousands of show-goers. CSU team members spoke one-on-one with interested members of the public, explaining the work they have performed during the first year of the competition and their plans for Years Two and Three. Attendees had the opportunity to learn about CSU’s hydrogen-fuel cell vehicle architecture and even experiment with the team’s regenerative braking kit. Beyond all the eco-conscious consumers, the team engaged younger students who were interested in pursuing automotive engineering.
These four teams are excellent examples of EcoCAR 2 outreach efforts, but there are 11 other teams working just as hard to spread the word about the options consumers have (or will soon have) when it comes to green cars. Check out the EcoCAR 2 website or the Green Garage Blog for more information.
The content & opinions in this article are the author’s and do not necessarily represent the views of AltEnergyMag
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