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Partnering for Sustainable Progress, Part 2

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Partnering for Sustainable Progress, Part 2

Partnering for Sustainable Progress: Part 1

Partnering for Sustainable Progress

In this series of short posts, I’m reviewing examples of projects which have two attributes: (1) they are geared to have a positive effect on social and environmental aspects in terms of their outcomes, benefits, and values, and (2) they involve key partnerships of major stakeholders.

In today’s post I am covering EcoCar, a partnership between industry, government, and academia.  In particular, it’s the US Department of Energy’s Argonne National Labs, over a dozen US and Canadian Universities, and automobile manufacturer General Motors (GM). 

Teams of engineers (mechanical, electrical, chemical, industrial, and others) as well as (of course!) a project leader work under the guidance of their university’s faculty and practitioners from GM, work together to produce a hybrid/electrical version of a particular vehicle (examples: the Chevrolet Malibu, Camaro, and Blazer).  GM donates the car to the university, the teams disassemble it and in a 3 or 4 year period re-assemble it with design changes so that the vehicle is hybrid/electric and must meet or beat the specifications of the production version of the car.  The universities compete against each other, with prizes and awards – but the biggest prize is the hands-on experience and job opportunities that the program opens up for them.  That’s a benefit for the students.  The government wins in helping to increase fuel efficiency and support American innovation.  And GM wins because they get to keep and use the patents and ideas from the competitions.

It's an amazing program, and I am proud to have been part of it – helping to train those project managers.

For more about the history, click here.

It all starts with a vision, and here it is (in some detail).


  • Provide a hands-on, real-world experience in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics)
  •  that:
    • Fosters practical learning in a safe environment
    • Incorporates the use of math-based tools to improve engineering education
    • Enables participants to develop and refine complex vehicle control and safety systems by using industry testing/validation processes and methodologies
    • Prepares students to work in the automotive, mobility and energy industries
    • Fosters a clean energy workforce that reflects the diversity of North America
  • Develop highly-skilled engineering leaders and innovators with a strong understanding of:
    • Advanced propulsion systems
    • Propulsion system control
    • Connected and automated vehicle technologies
    • Automotive mechatronics
    • Model-based design (MBD) techniques
    • Structural design and analysis
    • Other critical engineering disciplines
  • Support university teams in the recruitment of students in the following disciplines:
    • Mechanical Engineering
    • Electrical and Computer Engineering
    • Computer Science and Software Engineering
    • Industrial Engineering, Systems Engineering and other disciplines
    • Communications and Business


This is a great example of a public/private partnership – one that also includes academia.

Everyone wins.  We need more of these!!

Here are a couple of short videos to inspire you:




Posted by Richard Maltzman on: April 01, 2022 12:13 AM | Permalink

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"More than any time in history mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness, the other to total extinction. Let us pray that we have the wisdom to choose correctly."

- Woody Allen



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