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Wilfrid Laurier University Lazaridis School of Business & Economics
December 10, 2016
Canadian Excellence



Lazaridis School of Business & Economics

Alternative Fuels Team takes first place in business program

May 25/12


Megan Harris, SBE Marketing & Communications -

Laurier School of Business & Economics students brought home first place in all business categories at the prestigious competition EcoCAR2: Plugging In to the Future. The Laurier students along with their University of Waterloo Alternative Fuels Team (UWAFT) team mates, heard the good news at an awards ceremony in Los Angeles Wednesday evening.

Led by Laurier MBA candidate Heather Gawel, Laurier students, David Whyte, Tom McSorley, Gabriella Bensason, Johanna Palma, and Julie Wong make up the UWAFT’s Business team and walked away with awards for ‘Best Sponsor Collaboration Blog Post & Video’, ‘Best Year One Business Program Execution’, ‘Best Three-year Business Plan’, and ‘First place overall in the Business Program’. Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), General Motors Corporation (GM), and many other global corporations from Siemens to Snap-On, the EcoCAR2: Plugging In to the Future is a competition spanning three years, starting in Fall 2011 and culminating in Spring 2014. The Challenge is to reduce the environmental impact of a Chevrolet Malibu without compromising performance, safety, and consumer acceptability. 15 teams are participating in the competition, only two of which are from Canada and the remaining 13 from the United States.

“UW and Laurier have combined their strengths to create an outstanding team and we’re very proud of them,” says Kim Morouney, associate dean of business for Laurier’s School of Business & Economics. “The competition isn’t just focused on designing the car of the future: over the years, sponsors and organizers have put more and more emphasis on the importance of educating the public, raising awareness (and the acceptability) of alternative fuel technologies. And of course a project of this scope requires a fairly sophisticated business plan. While UW engineers and environment and business students make up the design and outreach teams, they have stacked UWAFT’s business team with students from Laurier’s SBE. Their collaboration is producing terrific results.”

About AVTC

For more than 23 years, the DOE has sponsored 28 Advanced Vehicle Technology Competitions (AVTC) in partnership with Natural Resources Canada and the North American auto industry. Managed by Argonne National Laboratory, AVTCs represent a unique coalition of government, industry and academic partners who join forces to explore sustainable vehicle solutions. DOE sponsors these competitions to educate the next generation of automotive engineers and accelerate the development and demonstration of sustainable transportation technologies. 

About the EcoCAR challenge

The EcoCAR 2 competition is unique amongst vehicle competitions because it gives its participants a chance to work with leading edge automotive technologies to solve real world problems.

Spanning three years, it follows GM’s Vehicle Development Process (VDP) serving as a roadmap for the process of designing, building and refining an advanced technology vehicle.

In the first year, the teams investigate a number of drive-train systems. Using computer simulation, they pick a specific system for the vehicle; extensive testing is done to integrate the power-train and various vehicle sub-systems. After successfully completing the first year, each team will receive a 2013 Chevrolet Malibu, which they will build into an EcoCAR over years 2 and 3 of the competition.
In the second and third year of the competition, teams will turn their designs into reality. The teams will be forced to deal with a variety of challenges that come with the vehicle design process and the use of alternative fuels. At the end of the competition, teams will have used exciting new technologies, converted a stock vehicle into an alternatively-fueled EcoCAR, and maybe even furthered the world of automotive design.

Discover more about the UWAFT team

Click here to view UWAFT’s winning sponsorship collaboration video

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