Mississippi State University’s EcoCar 2 team gave a presentation to local firemen on EcoCar 2’s progress as well as a safety presentation to first responders on wrecks involving hybrid cars Friday.
The EcoCar program has only been around for about 10 years, and it has already earned more awards than any team in the competition’s roughly 25-year history. The team breaks down into three separate parts, and a representative from each spoke on his or her portion of the presentation. Claire Faccini, senior communication major, is the head of communication for the group. She said she runs the social media for EcoCar 2 and planning presentations and events to promote the EcoCar 2 name.
“This event was targeted at firemen and first responders with an emphasis on safety, but we do other demonstration aimed at different publics,” Faccini said.
EcoCar 2 is in the third year of the three-year competition, so Faccini and her team are dedicated to vamping up the awareness. The team took first place in year one and fifth place in year two, but she said that winning year three is the big one.
Chris Hoop, junior accounting major and the team’s business manager, said he monitors the budget, makes sure members of the team stay on track and get along, oversees funding and makes sure the sponsors are happy.
“It’s a lot of work. I had to turn in a 30-page business plan this semester, and I have to have a 50-page impact report ready for May. It is some great management experience, though,” Hoop said.
The teams are not only scored on the performance of the car, but the performance of the business and communication aspects as well and can score vital points for performing well in these respects.
The engineering aspect is a large aspect of the competition. The car is scored through several tests on fuel efficiency and handling.
Stephen Hayden, sophomore mechanical engineering major, got his start on the team as a freshman sanding and painting. He now comes back as a veteran and said he is the unofficial new member guy.
“I make them feel welcome,” Hayden said.
The team insists EcoCar 2 at MSU has some of the nicest facilities in the country. The team can build and maintain everything except the most specialized parts in house and were the only team to increase the trunk space in the 2013 Chevy Malibu provided for the competition. The facilities have become known in the competition circuit as “Garage Mahal.”
“We are the winningest team in competition history. We are basically the University of Alabama of EcoCar,” Hoop said.
The team has worked to bring excellence to MSU and has formed a familial-like bond.
Hayde said a lot of time and hard work goes into the EcoCar.
“I have never pulled an all nighter studying, but I have pulled all nighters on EcoCar,” Hayden said.