About EcoCAR 2

EcoCAR 2: Plugging In to the Future, is a three-year collegiate engineering competition and the only program of its kind.

The competition's mission is a vital one: offer an unparalleled hands-on, real-world experience to educate the next generation of automotive engineers. The competition challenges 15 universities across North America to reduce the environmental impact of a Chevrolet Malibu without compromising performance, safety and consumer acceptability.

Established by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and General Motors (GM), EcoCAR 2 builds upon a successful 25-year history of DOE Advanced Vehicle Technology Competitions (AVTC) that exemplify the power of public/private partnerships in providing invaluable experience and training to promising, young minds entering the North American job market. EcoCAR 2 follows the widely acclaimed competition series EcoCAR: The NeXt Challenge.

Shaped by the greatest design changes in the history of the automotive industry, EcoCAR 2 requires students to explore a variety of powertrain architectures focusing on electric drive vehicle technology. EcoCAR 2 teams will utilize a 2013 Chevrolet Malibu, donated by General Motors as the integration platform for their advanced vehicle design.

During the three-year program EcoCAR 2 teams will follow a real-world Vehicle Development Process (VDP) modeled after GM's VDP. The VDP serves as a roadmap for the engineering process of designing, building and refining their advanced technology vehicles. Following a VDP will give the teams an opportunity to improve their vehicles efficiency while retaining consumer acceptability, performance and safety.

Executive Steering Committee

Kristen De La Rosa

Argonne National Laboratory

Kristen De La Rosa

Kristen De La Rosa is director of the Advanced Vehicle Technology Competition (AVTC) program at Argonne National Laboratory, where she has organized more than 22 competitions since she first started in 1996. Previously, Kristen served as Public Outreach Manager & Interim Asst. Director for Public Education/Media for the Alternative Fuels Research & Education Division of the Texas Railroad Commission (TRC). Kristen was first introduced to the AVTC program in 1995 when the TRC sponsored the Propane Vehicle Challenge. The experience had a profound impact on her and led her to the AVTC organizing team at Argonne, where she continues today. Kristen has been at the forefront of defining, executing and growing the AVTC program for over 17 years. She leads all day-to-day activities, is responsible for establishing and managing the program’s multi-million dollar sponsorship and fundraising efforts and is the Chair of the EcoCAR Executive Steering Committee. ×

Nicole Lambiase

Argonne National Laboratory

Nicole Lambiase

Nicole Lambiase is an Advanced Vehicle Technology Competition (AVTC) Program Specialist for Argonne National Laboratory. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering with a concentration in High Performance Vehicles from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, where she was the Electrical Team Leader during EcoCAR: The NeXt Challenge. Nicole is currently pursuing her Master of Business Administration from Syracuse University and is a certified Project Management Professional. She served as a technical coordinator for the last two years of EcoCAR and moved into Project Management for EcoCAR 2: Plugging In To The Future and the next series, EcoCAR 3. Nicole is currently a member of the competition Technical Steering Committee and the Co-Event Captain for the Business Program. ×

Brian Benoy

Argonne National Laboratory

Brian Benoy

Brian Benoy is the Advanced Vehicle Technology Competition (AVTC) Lead Technical Coordinator and Controls & Simulation Engineer at Argonne National Laboratory. In this role, he manages the electrical, controls, modeling, and simulation activities of EcoCAR 2, and is responsible for the overall technical scope of the competition. Brian currently holds a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering from Mississippi State University and a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Kettering University. As a graduate of the AVTC program during EcoCAR: The NeXt Challenge, Brian gained valuable leadership and technical experience as the controls and simulation team lead for Mississippi State University. 


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Patrick Walsh

Argonne National Laboratory

Patrick Walsh

Patrick Walsh serves as the Advanced Vehicle Testing and Controls Engineer at Argonne National Laboratory and a key organizer for EcoCAR 2. Patrick graduated with his master’s degree from Virginia Tech after serving as the team leader for the EcoCAR team (Hybrid Electric Vehicle Team of Virginia Tech) for two years. Prior to graduate school, Patrick worked as a powertrain analyst and calibrator at BMW in Greenville, South Carolina as a co-op during his undergraduate work at Virginia Tech. For EcoCAR 2, Patrick will serve as the event captain for the Emissions and Energy Consumption event, as well as support controls and simulation activity. When Patrick is not working for AVTC’s directly, he will be working in Argonne’s Advanced Powertrain Research Facility, testing and reporting on advanced technology vehicles.

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Jesse Alley

Argonne National Laboratory

Jesse Alley

Jesse Alley is the Advanced Vehicle Technology Competition (AVTC) Vehicle Systems Engineer at Argonne National Laboratory. He is originally from Kingsport, TN and graduated in 2010 with a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Virginia Tech. In June of 2012, he received his Master's degree from the Mechanical Engineering department of Virginia Tech. He participated in all three years of EcoCAR: the NeXt Challenge for Virginia Tech and was the team leader for the Year One VT EcoCAR 2 team. His role at Argonne will be to manage the Structural Waiver process, the Energy Storage System Design process, and the Safety and Technical Inspection process.

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Kimberly DeClark

Argonne National Laboratory

Kimberly DeClark

Kimberly DeClark is the Advanced Vehicle Technology Competitions Communications and Logistics Manager at Argonne National Laboratory.  In that role she is responsible for communications and logistics for EcoCAR 2: Plugging In to the Future competition, which includes managing the Outreach program for EcoCAR 2 as well as overseeing the U.S. Department of Energy’s Clean Cities University Workforce Development Program.

DeClark has a diverse background in public relations, media relations and public affairs which include positions at General Motors, the White House National Advance team/White House Press Corps, and agency experience.

Previously, DeClark was Manager, Government, Policy and Technology Communications for General Motors where she managed and facilitated public policy issue communications between government relations and corporate communications functions.  Kimberly acted as spokesperson on all GM public policy issues including health care, trade, tax, safety, energy, environment and advanced technology vehicles.  She coordinated with third-party organizations and other external audiences including elected officials, community leaders, policy makers, associations and advocacy groups to support public policy initiatives.

DeClark has a master of arts degree in organizational communications and public relations, and graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor of arts degree in public relations and speech communications, both from Wayne State University.

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Dana Bubonovich

Argonne National Laboratory

Dana Bubonovich

Dana Bubonovich is the AVTC Communications and Logistics Coordinator at Argonne National Laboratory. Dana works on program logistics for EcoCAR 2: Plugging In to the Future and coordinates the Clean Cities University Workforce Development Program, a nationwide internship program. She received her bachelor’s degree in public relations from Penn State University in 2010, and was the former Outreach Coordinator the Penn State EcoCAR team from 2008-2010. While at Penn State, Dana was also the Chapter president of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) and founded Penn State’s first student-run public relations firm, Happy Valley Communications. She can be reached at dbubonovich@anl.gov.

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Amanda McAlpin

Argonne National Laboratory

Amanda McAlpin

Amanda McAlpin serves as the Clean Cities University Workforce Development Program Coordinator at Argonne National Laboratory. Amanda is an alumna of the advanced vehicle technology competition (AVTC) program, having served as Outreach Coordinator for the Mississippi State University team during Challenge X. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Communications with an emphasis in Public Relations from Mississippi State University. Amanda comes to this role from New West Technologies where she led research and communications support for advanced vehicle technologies. ×

Patrick Davis

U.S. Department of Energy

Patrick Davis

Patrick Davis is the Director of the Vehicle Technologies Office at the U.S. Department of Energy. The Vehicle Technologies Office manages research funding for hybrid drivetrains, advanced batteries, lightweight materials, advanced combustion and fuels, vehicle systems integration, and Clean Cities deployment activities. He is responsible for three major government/industry partnerships, the U.S. DRIVE Partnership, the 21st Century Truck Partnership, and the National Clean Fleets Partnership. Patrick also serves on the Board of Directors of the American National Standards Institute. Patrick has 32 years of public service, is a Chemical Engineer, and has devoted virtually his entire career to the development of vehicle, alternative fuel, and electrochemical technologies. ×

Connie Bezanson

U.S. Department of Energy

Connie Bezanson

Connie Bezanson manages the Education and Outreach activities within the U.S. Department of Energy’s Vehicle Technologies Program Office. In addition to managing the Advanced Vehicle Technology Competition activity, she manages the Graduate Automotive Technology Education and a portfolio to support the transition to advanced electric transportation systems. She received a BS in mechanical engineering from The Catholic University of America.

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Steven Boyd

U.S. Department of Energy

Steven Boyd

Steven Boyd is a Technology Development Manager for the Vehicle Technologies Program in the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. Steven manages projects to develop improved components and systems for electric drive vehicles with national laboratories and industry partners. He received his MS in mechanical engineering from Virginia Tech in 2006, and has participated in Advanced Vehicle Technology Competitions as either a student or organizer for more than 10 years.

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Jim Kolhoff

General Motors

Jim Kolhoff

Jim Kolhoff is the global Chief Engineer & Program Manager for Transmission Controllers and Powertrain Electronics at General Motors. His organization is responsible for the design, development and validation of engine and transmission controllers for GM globally. Jim was previously Chief Engineer of Hybrid Drive Units, Director of Transmission Controls and Director of Software Engineering for GM Powertrain. He has more than 25 years of experience in automotive powertrain engineering. Jim has a Bachelors degree in Electrical Engineering from General Motors Institute and a Masters degree in Electrical Engineering from California Institute of Technology. ×

John Haraf

General Motors

John Haraf

John Haraf is currently the General Motors Director of Hybrid Vehicle Integration and Controls. In this position, he is responsible for vehicle-level hybrid system integration and controls development for all of GM’s hybrid, extended-range electric, and electric vehicles. John began his career with GM in 1979 as an engine calibration engineer in the Cadillac Motor Car division and has held a wide range of leadership positions in GM’s Powertrain organization including Premium V Engine Calibration manager, Diesel/Big Block Truck Engine Integration manager, Director of Engine Management System hardware design/release, and Director of Engine Development, Calibration, and Verification for all of GM’s North American vehicle applications.

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Cindy Svestka

General Motors

Cindy Svestka

Cindy Svestka, Engineering Group Manager for GM Powertrain's North American Cranking Systems and Electronic Sensors Group, holds a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Utah State University, a Master’s of Science in Engineering from Purdue University, and an MBA from Indiana University’s Kelly School of Business. 

Cindy worked at Argonne National Laboratory in Chicago, Illinois from 1998 to 2000, after which she joined the General Motors team. Before taking on her current assignment in 2010, Cindy served as the Business Process Manager for Powertrain Vehicle Integration, Fuel System Engineer for the launch of the Ethanol (E85) flex-fuel systems for the full-size Pick-up and SUV applications, Lead Energy and Drive Quality Engineer for the Chevrolet HHR, and Lead Energy Analysis Engineer for a future Hybrid program. 

Throughout her time at GM, Cindy has been active in the GM and US Department of Energy co-sponsored Advanced Vehicle Technology Competition (AVTC) series, supporting the 2001 FutureTruck competition, Challenge X in 2005-2008, EcoCAR in 2008-2011, and now EcoCAR 2. For EcoCAR 2, Cindy is a member of the competition Technical Steering Committee and the Event Captain for the Business Program and Women in Engineering events.
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Dan Mehr

General Motors

Dan Mehr

Daniel Mehr (Dan) got his bachelors of science from the University of Wisconsin in 2008 after participating in the FutureTruck and ChallengeX advanced vehicle technology competitions. Upon graduating, Dan joined General Motors as an energy storage system integration engineer. After working on three PHEV applications and completing a masters of engineering at the University of Michigan, he now is an energy storage systems analyst at GM’s advanced vehicle design center, working on future programs.

While working at General Motors, Dan has continued to support AVTCs.  In addition to his current assignment, Dan has served as GM’s Mentor Lead and is one of the GM Technical Leads for the EcoCAR 2 program.


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Michael Kearney

General Motors

Michael Kearney

Mike Kearney is a Controls Design Engineer in General Motors' Electrification Controls organization. Originally from Woodbridge, Virginia, he was a student in the EcoCAR: The NeXt Challenge competition on the Hybrid Electric Vehicle Team of Virginia Tech, where he earned his Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering. He is currently pursuing a Master of Science in Energy Systems Engineering from the University of Michigan. He has supported the EcoCAR 2 competition in numerous roles and currently is one of the GM Technical Leads. ×

Lynda Palombo

Natural Resources Canada

Lynda Palombo

Lynda Palombo is Senior Manager, Business Strategy for the, Transportation Energy Technologies at Natural Resources Canada. Lynda is responsible for strategic planning, reporting, and business development for alternative transportation energy technologies. She has worked on the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Vehicle Technology Competitions for more than 11 years and is a member of the EcoCAR Steering Committee.

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Cheri-Ann MacKinlay

Natural Resources Canada

Cheri-Ann MacKinlay

Cheri-Ann MacKinlay is a Senior Technical Advisor with the Transportation Energy Technology group at Natural Resources Canada. Cheri-Ann provides technical advice and manages projects related to alternative transportation including natural gas, electric and fuel cell vehicles, and hydrogen infrastructure. Cheri-Ann has been involved with Advanced Vehicle Technology Competitions for over nine years as a student and as an organizer. 

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EcoCAR 2 is an Advanced Vehicle Technology Competition (AVTC) managed for the U.S. Department of Energy by Argonne National Laboratory. Learn more about EcoCAR 2 →