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UOIT automotive engineers turn heads in Arizona and San Diego during second phase of EcoCAR Challenge

UOIT EcoCAR team at the GM Desert Proving Grounds in Yuma, Arizona. Kneeling (from left): Gavin Clark, Mike Maduro, Shawn Sandham and Mark Balgobin; Standing: Pierre Hinse, Lesley McLelland Joe Brennan and Hugues Marceau; Behind car: Hugo Provencher, Helen Qin and Dr. Greg Rohrauer (Faculty Advisor).
UOIT EcoCAR team at the GM Desert Proving Grounds in Yuma, Arizona. Kneeling (from left): Gavin Clark, Mike Maduro, Shawn Sandham and Mark Balgobin; Standing: Pierre Hinse, Lesley McLelland Joe Brennan and Hugues Marceau; Behind car: Hugo Provencher, Helen Qin and Dr. Greg Rohrauer (Faculty Advisor).

OSHAWA, ON - After ten days of tense competition against 15 other North American universities, the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) has vaulted to the top group of teams in the EcoCAR: The NeXt Challenge automotive engineering design competition. UOIT's ambitious crew of innovative, problem-solving students has again proven it has what it takes to make an impressive mark against a group of long-established U.S. universities that includes Penn State, Virginia Tech and Ohio State University.

As part of the second phase of the three-year advanced vehicle technology challenge, UOIT's EcoCAR team put its cutting-edge, eco-friendly electric car through a long series of dynamic and static tests in the arid desert climate at the General Motors (GM) Proving Grounds in Yuma, Arizona. UOIT's design took top honours in two categories in Arizona: for the car's performance when changing lanes at high speed and for dynamic consumer acceptability based on handling, noise and vibration.

After emerging from Arizona ranked in the top group of teams, the UOIT engineering students moved on to the next stage of competition in San Diego, California to expand their outreach efforts and show off their designs and plans to industry experts as well as the U.S. media. UOIT completed the second phase of EcoCAR ranked fourth for its electrical and mechanical systems and in sixth place overall. Also in San Diego, at the Sponsor Social networking and recruiting event, UOIT was presented with the award for second-place in the Bosch Diversity category, which recognizes the team that best attracts and retains people of different nationality, ethnic background, gender and academic program. UOIT placed just behind the Missouri University of Science and Technology and ahead of Ohio State.

The competition will continue through the spring of 2011. UOIT is just one of 16 North American universities (one of three in Canada) that qualified to participate in EcoCAR: The NeXt Challenge, an automotive engineering design competition sponsored by GM and the U.S. Department of Energy. Each team of engineers is aiming to be the one that creates the most environmentally-friendly car while maintaining the performance standards expected by consumers.

UOIT's EcoCAR is a hybrid vehicle generously donated by GM Canada. As part of its innovative approach to the competition and effort to earn high marks for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the UOIT team opted to make its vehicle a fully-electric model. In addition to increasing energy efficiency through its advanced technology design, the team is also striving to maintain consumer acceptability in the areas of performance, reliability and safety.

UOIT owns Canada's largest electric vehicle fleet at a university, which includes electric buses, pickup trucks, bicycles and even a hydrogen hybrid electric wheelchair. For more information about UOIT's EcoCAR, please visit the team's website by clicking here.


About UOIT
The University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) advances the discovery and application of knowledge through a technology-enriched learning environment and the delivery of innovative market-driven programs responsive to the needs of students and industry. With more than 9,600 undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in 75 programs, UOIT promotes social engagement, fosters critical thinking and integrates outcomes-based learning experiences inside and outside the classroom. UOIT's commitment to accelerating economic growth and social innovation is realized through faculty research collaborations with leading organizations such as Ontario Power Generation, IBM, The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) and the Durham Regional Police Service. To find out more, visit uoit.ca.

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