EcoCAR Team Holds Launch for the Arrival of Project Car



By Simon Morrow
Illinois Tech EcoCAR team with 2023 Cadillac LYRIQ

A 2023 Cadillac LYRIQ has arrived on the Illinois Institute of Technology campus. Soon the Illinois Tech EcoCAR team will start taking it apart. On October 28, 2023, the EcoCAR team held a reception for the launch of the car’s arrival.

“Our team had the wonderful pleasure of sharing our project and General Motors’s Cadillac LYRIQ with our university, community members, and sponsors,” says Chelsea Nguyen (ARCH 5th Year), the communications manager for Illinois Tech EcoCAR.

The event included remarks from Illinois Tech leadership, including President Raj Echambadi and Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Kenneth T. Christensen. Additionally, Douglas Monieson, CEO of UICO, and Gen Sasaki, principal customer success engineer at MathWorks, spoke, representing two of the companies sponsoring the EcoCAR team.

“The real-world challenge students face here, and the solutions they develop, will help shape our future,” says Echambadi. “Our faculty leaders of the EcoCAR team—Professors Mahesh Krishnamurthy, Carrie Hall, and Matthew Spenko—demonstrate that Illinois Tech is a place for originality, creativity, and ingenuity. It’s multidisciplinary collaboration like this that ensures that our students receive holistic, industry-relevant experience to prepare them for their careers and to lead and drive change in our world by solving some of the world’s most pressing challenges.”

Only 13 teams were selected nationwide to compete in the four-year EcoCAR EV Challenge.

“It’s a masterclass in problem-solving, where challenges become opportunities for growth,” says Jonathan Sorg (ME, M.A.S. EMGT 5th Year), project manager for Illinois Tech EcoCAR. “EcoCAR cultivates leadership, teamwork, and resilience. It’s an opportunity to be at the forefront of technological advancements, making meaningful connections with industry leaders, and most importantly, understanding the impact one can make in the world of sustainable transportation.”

The Illinois Tech EcoCAR team’s mission is to provide students with an opportunity to gain industry-like hands-on experience with the design and manufacturing of advanced automotive systems while engaging and informing the community of e-mobility. The team plans to make technological advancements in the vehicle’s design, efficiency, and eco-friendliness.

“It’s unlike any other opportunity offered to students,” says Faith Busche (CS ’23, M.S. CDSO 1st Year), the connected and automated vehicles lead for Illinois Tech EcoCAR. “Not only have I worked on tasks and projects that are super relevant to the field I hope to get into after school, but I’ve learned all the industry best practices that go along with solving these problems.”

The Illinois Tech EcoCAR team is also prioritizing communication and outreach, and one year into the four-year competition, the Illinois Tech EcoCAR team has already shown their strength.

Their local outreach efforts, including collaborations with De La Salle Institute and the Chinese American Service League, won them the Excellence in STEM Award at Year One of Competition from Magna International.

“I’ve learned a lot about electric vehicles and about the importance of addressing equity in mobility issues, and the significance of promoting accessibility and inclusivity in transportation systems,” says Nadia Netolicky (BME, M.A.S. Biomedical Imaging and Signals 5th Year), the equity in mobility lead for Illinois Tech EcoCAR.

Image: Illinois Tech EcoCAR team with 2023 Cadillac LYRIQ.