Daytona Beach Campus


Embry-Riddle Student EcoCAR Engineers Enter Vehicle in Daytona 500 Parade Lap

NASCAR Fans at First Race of Season Can Meet Tomorrow's Green-Car Designers in Sprint FanZone

Daytona Beach, FL, February 14, 2013

Students at the nation’s leading aerospace university are designing more than airplanes and rockets. They’re designing the next generation of cars.

The Embry-Riddle vehicle that race fans will see Feb. 24 at Daytona International Speedway won’t be the fastest car on the track, but it represents fast-paced efforts by student engineers at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University to design the next generation of green vehicles.

The car, a GM Malibu, will take part in pre-race activities by going on-track for parade laps at 11:40 a.m., before the Daytona 500 starts. It highlights more than 50 Embry-Riddle students’ participation in the EcoCAR2 Challenge as they compete against 14 other North American universities to design a better hybrid car. In the three-year competition established by General Motors and the U.S. Department of Energy, student engineers are working to reduce the environmental impact of vehicles without compromising performance, safety or consumer acceptability.

“EcoCAR2 gives our students hands-on experience designing the next generation of hybrid vehicles. It also puts them in front of employers for top-quality automotive engineering jobs when they graduate,” said Marc Compere, assistant professor of mechanical engineering and the team’s faculty adviser. “We are proud to promote green technologies along with NASCAR at the Daytona 500."

In the Sprint FanZone, Embry-Riddle students also will be offering demonstrations on how they’re re-engineering another GM Malibu to create a greener, consumer-friendly car.

Employing the latest innovations in engine technology and energy storage and a vehicle development process similar to that used by GM’s engineers, the Embry-Riddle students are installing their innovative power-train in a car donated by the automaker.

“We’ve been working hard on this competition for nearly two years,” said Ken Leslie, a graduate electrical engineering student who leads the Embry-Riddle team. “It’s an honor and a real thrill to share our efforts with car fans at the biggest race of the year.”

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, the world's largest, fully accredited university specializing in aviation and aerospace, is a nonprofit, independent institution offering more than 70 baccalaureate, master's and Ph.D. degree programs in its colleges of Arts and Sciences, Aviation, Business and Engineering. Embry-Riddle educates students at residential campuses in Daytona Beach, Fla., and Prescott, Ariz., and through the Worldwide Campus with more than 150 locations in the United States, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. The university is a major research center, seeking solutions to real-world problems in partnership with the aerospace industry, other universities and government agencies. For more information, visit, follow us on Twitter (@EmbryRiddle) and, and find expert videos at