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McMaster University 1 of 2 Canadian institutions selected for premier EcoCAR EV ChallengeApril 28, 2022

McMaster University has been chosen as one of 15 institutions across North America to engineer a 2023 Cadillac LYRIQ in the EcoCAR EV Challenge.

Students at McMaster University will be getting exclusive hands-on experience in automotive R&D as part of a cutting-edge Advanced Vehicle Technology Competition

A select group of institutions across North America will be engineering and optimizing a battery electric vehicle in the EcoCAR EV Challenge, a four-year competition series.  

Reflecting real-world experience of working in the industry, students will design, build and refine advanced electric propulsion systems and connected and autonomous vehicle (CAV) technologies.

The program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy, MathWorks and General Motors (GM) and is set to begin in fall 2022. GM will be donating a 2023 Cadillac LYRIQ to each of the teams.

McMaster is one of only two Canadian universities on the list of participants. A full list of selected institutions is available in the media release.

“I am thrilled that McMaster University has been selected to participate in the EcoCAR EV Challenge. Engagement in the latest EcoCAR series program speaks to McMaster’s reputation as a world-class institution and further demonstrates McMaster Engineering’s commitment to experiential learning and multidisciplinary collaboration,” said Heather Sheardown, Acting Dean of the Faculty of Engineering.

“Our ambitious and diverse community pushes the bounds of innovation, and we look forward to witnessing the passion students and faculty bring to the project.” 

Sheardown recently explored the significance of the competition in the acting dean’s interview about EcoCAR on 900 CHML’s Hamilton Today (6:55 to 14:00.) 

EcoCAR EV Challenge Announcement and Launch Workshop in Washington, DC. From left to right: Ali Emadi (lead faculty advisor), Liam Strijckers (undergraduate student, Computer Engineering and Management), and Dan Centea (faculty advisor) of the McMaster Engineering EcoCAR EV Challenge Team. 

This is the third time McMaster University has been selected to participate in the competition series; its notable awards include the Siemens PLM Software Excellence Award (2018) and DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) in engineering award from the U.S. Department of Energy (2021). 

Third-year engineering students Alastair Irvine (mechatronics) and Carolyn Visser (mechanical engineering and society) are the co-mechanical team leads with the current McMaster EcoCAR Mobility Challenge team. They’re thrilled for the opportunity to develop their skills sets at the forefront of innovation alongside other budding engineers. 

“I am very excited to participate in the next competition. EcoCAR has provided me with so many opportunities as well as taught me technical, leadership and communication skills that I will use in the future,” Irvine said.  

“Being on the team I’ve developed relationships with so many new people and met many great friends. The McMaster EcoCAR team is one big family and I'm glad we will continue in the competition as it will hopefully provide this opportunity to new members in the future and allow current members to progress their skills.” 

“The announcement that McMaster University will continue in the EcoCAR EV Challenge means that I can continue to take the skills and knowledge I gain through my engineering degree and apply it to a hands-on project that I am very passionate about,” Visser said. 

“What I am most excited for in the upcoming four-year competition is starting from a stock car and creating an electric vehicle that is unique to our team. As well as showcasing our design to different teams and sponsors across North America.” 

This Chevrolet Blazer is being shipped to the EcoCAR Mobility Challenge Year 4 series finale in Arizona.

Technical goals not only include decarbonization, but also addressing equity and electrification challenges in the future of mobility. Equity, diversity and inclusion will be interwoven into the competition with the goal of improving diversity in STEM and higher education. 

McMaster University’s interdisciplinary team of faculty advisors features experts from various engineering departments as well as those from Communication Studies & Media Arts and the DeGroote School of Business.

Ali Emadi, Canada Research Chair in transportation electrification and smart mobility, will again be the team’s lead faculty advisor and primary faculty advisor of propulsion systems. Mark Lawford, chair of the department of computing and software, will the be the team's CAV technologies primary faculty advisor. 

The Faculty Advisory Board also includes:

  • Dan Centea
  • Saeid Habibi
  • Stephen Veldhuis
  • Jennifer Bauman
  • Maryam Ghasemaghaei
  • Philip Savage
  • Elizabeth Hassan
  • Alan Wassyng

“McMaster University and the EcoCAR program share a crucial vision of equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI). The EcoCAR team is an excellent example of McMaster’s continual effort toward an inclusive environment, having received awards in 2018 and 2021 for EDI engineering,” said Arig al Shaibah, associate vice-president, equity and inclusion, McMaster University.   

“We are pleased to have the opportunity to promote and advance pillars of EDI in the McMaster community, engineering sector, and beyond.”