Wayne State Tapped to Lead Fuel Efficiency R&D


DETROIT — As President Obama’s 2025 deadline for 54.5 mpg fuel efficiency standards draws closer, Wayne State University today announced it has been selected by the U.S. Department of Energy and General Motors to develop students who will fill the growing demand for engineers specializing in energy efficient vehicle design over the next decade and beyond.

The initiative is part of the EcoCAR3 program developed by DOE and GM to educate the next generation of automotive engineers while creating new ways to reduce the environmental impact of automobiles without sacrificing consumer acceptability. Wayne State is the only university in Michigan to be selected for the four-year program, and one of only 16 in North America.

“Being selected by the Department of Energy and GM to not only lead education but also innovation in the areas of fuel efficiency and emissions reduction means so much to our current and prospective students,” said Jerry Ku, WSU associate professor of mechanical engineering and director of electric-drive vehicle engineering graduate program, who will lead the university’s EcoCar3 team.

Ku, a world-renowned expert in electric-drive vehicle engineering, has also led WSU engineering students in the EcoCAR2 advanced vehicle technology contest. During the course of the three-year program, he has seen almost all of the students involved go on to be hand-picked to work in alternative vehicle technology for the world’s largest automakers.

“Our faculty has worked so hard over the years to create the academic infrastructure and industry partnerships necessary to win this incredibly valuable opportunity for our students,” Ku said. “We hope aspiring engineering students as young as 13 or 14 years old take note of this awesome chance and think about coming to Wayne State, because this is the future of automotive engineering.”

WSU’s team of EcoCAR3 students will explore advanced vehicle solutions to minimize petroleum usage and energy consumption and reduce emissions through research collaboration with industry, as well as workforce preparation-oriented curriculum development.

The competition will challenge 16 North American universities to reduce the environmental impact of vehicles without compromising performance, safety or consumer acceptability.

EcoCAR 3 teams will use a Chevrolet Camaro donated by General Motors as the integration platform for their advanced vehicle design.

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