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WVU finishes second in EcoCAR EV Challenge Year One competition


Front row (left to right): Kaycee Kiser (Communications Manager), Daisy Levine (Women in STEM award presenter), Morgan Bartley (DEI Manager). Middle row: Colin Kellett (Engineering Manager), Zachary Flanigan (CAVs Team Lead), Matthew Cawthorne (SDI presentation presenter), Jared Diethorn (CAVs Team Co-Lead), Jared Behr (CAVs presentation presenter), Dawson Dunnuck (PCM Team Lead). Back row: William Cawthorne (GM Mentor), Juan Pablo Ibañez (Project Manager), David Burley (CAD Specialist), Tyson Semetkoskey (PCM presentation presenter), Andrew Nix (Lead Faculty Advisor), Brian Woerner (CAVs Faculty Advisor) 

At the end of the first year of the EcoCAR EV Challenge, the team from West Virginia University finished second overall in the four-year competition that was held from May 21–26, in Orlando, Florida. The team accumulated ten competition awards in total, receiving more than $18,000 in prize money.  

Story by Brittany Furbee, Communications Specialist


The competition, which is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy, General Motors and MathWorks, challenged teams from 15 schools from across the nation to design and engineer a battery electric vehicle for the 2023 Cadillac LYRIQ that utilizes automation and vehicle-to-everything connectivity to implement energy efficient and customer-appealing features. The competition also featured a diversity, equity, and inclusion component to promote STEM and inspire the next generation of an EV workforce that is representative of all communities. 

“The WVU EcoCAR team is proud of all our past team leads and students and has worked to grow and improve year after year with team knowledge transfer and team lead development,” said Andrew Nix, associate professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and lead faculty adviser for EcoCAR. “This year’s team is a tight-knit group of strong leaders who have run this team like a well-oiled machine. Fall semester was the start of the new EV Challenge competition and the project got a slow start with legal agreements and issues with software licensing. However, our students weathered the storm faced by all teams and persevered, keeping the team together and staying focused.”  

The WVU EcoCAR team is a collaborative cross disciplinary project with students from the Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources, Chambers College of Business and Economics, Reed College of Media, and WVU’s Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Members of the Year One final competition included Morgan Bartley (M.S. software engineering), Jared Behr (senior, computer engineering), David Burley (M.S. mechanical engineering), Matthew Cawthorne (senior, mechanical engineering) Jared Diethorn (Ph.D. mechanical engineering), Dawson Dunnuck (M.S. mechanical engineering), Zachary Flanigan (M.S. electrical engineering), Colin Kellett (M.S. mechanical engineering), Kaycee Kiser (M.S. integrated marketing communications), Daisy Levine (senior, mechanical and aerospace engineering), Juan Pablo Ibañez (master of business administration), and Tyson Semetkoskey (senior, electrical engineering). 

 In addition to placing second overall and winning $9,000 in prize money, the WVU EcoCAR team received several additional awards and accolades including, first place for Systems Design and Integration Presentation ($2,000) and Connected and Automated Vehicle Systems Presentation ($2,000), second place for Communications Program ($2,000), Communications Presentation and Propulsion Controls and Modeling Presentation, and third place for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Program Sponsored by the U.S. DOE ($1,000) and Equity in Mobility Presentation. Additionally, Kellett received the Excellence in Leadership Award ($2,000) and Diethorn received third place in the MathWorks Model Based Design Award ($250).  

“Outside of the team awards, of which there were many including awards for all technical areas of the competition, Communications and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, I am proud of how this team worked hard on all deliverables, with a focus on developing students,” said Nix. The professional development of team members was a recurring theme of all presentations and I feel the judges appreciated this focus by our team.” 

“A second-place finish meant a lot to the team, especially in Year One,” said Kellett, the team's technical specialist and engineering manager. “One of our team goals every year is to finish on the podium so   second place means a lot to myself, and I know the rest of the team as well. In my six years with the team this is the highest our team has ever placed. We typically trend in an upward fashion in years 2-4, which means next year we hopefully get first!"

In year two of the competition, each student team will receive a Cadillac LYRIQ, a next-generation battery electric vehicle provided by GM. Teams will be tasked with reengineering the vehicle to add new energy efficient and customer-friendly features designed to address the decarbonization needs of the automotive industry. The selected and competition approved architecture is an all-wheel drive vehicle utilizing electric motors donated by American Axle and Manufacturing. The team will retain a majority of the current team leadership and will focus on maintaining momentum going into next year. 



Contact: Paige Nesbit
Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources
304.293.4135, Paige Nesbit

For more information on news and events in the West Virginia University Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources, contact our Marketing and Communications office:

Phone: 304-293-4135