These clever students have turned the Camaro into a hybrid sports car

EcoCAR 3 / Flickr

Ever looked at your car and thought "I bet I could improve its engineering"? That's the challenge for the student teams that participate in EcoCAR 3, a competition sponsored by General Motors and the US Department of Energy. Run by Argonne National Laboratory, it's a four-year program that has had each team take the conventionally powered Camaro sports car and turn it into a high-performance hybrid. When we last checked in with EcoCAR 3 back in 2016—halfway through the run—The Ohio State University was leading the pack. Earlier this month, the Buckeyes did it again, taking top honors in the fourth and final year of the competition.

EcoCAR 3 is the latest in a long-running series of Advanced Vehicle Technology Competitions sponsored by the Department of Energy. The first, the Methanol Marathon, took place between 1988 and 1989 and involved 15 teams from North American colleges and universities, each of which had to convert 1988 Chevrolet Corsicas to use alcohol as a fuel. Subsequent ATVCs saw student teams convert vehicles to use natural gas or propane, add hybrid systems, or just boost fuel efficiency.

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