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Battery Workforce Challenge Declares First-Year Champion Teams

The team from Colorado School of Mines and Arapahoe Community College triumphs in inaugural year of 'BattChallenge.'

Michael C. Anderson, Editor-in-Chief, Battery Technology

May 21, 2024

3 Min Read
BattChallenge 1st-place team from Colorado School of Mines & Arapahoe Community College
The Colorado School of Mines & Arapahoe Community College BattChallenge team poses with Micky Bly, left, Stellantis’ senior vice president and head of Global Propulsion Systems, and Michael Berube, right, US DOE’s deputy assistant secretary for sustainable transportation and fuels in the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, after earning the First Place Overall Award during the Battery Workforce Challenge’s Year One Competition Awards Ceremony on May 9 in Chicago.BATTCHALLENGE

In a remarkable demonstration of innovation and technical prowess, the team from Colorado School of Mines and Arapahoe Community College has clinched the title of Year One Champion in the Battery Workforce Challenge (BattChallenge). This accolade marks the first phase of a three-year collegiate competition designed to cultivate the next generation of battery engineers.

The team from The Ohio State University and Columbus State Community College secured second place, while the University of Alabama / Shelton State Community College team took home third place honors. These teams were judged based on their electric vehicle (EV) battery pack designs, evaluated on parameters such as cell characterization, thermal management, mechanical integrity, electrical efficiency, and adherence to safety standards.

"We are energized by the collective efforts, dedication, and ingenuity demonstrated by the students in year one," stated Michael Berube, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Sustainable Transportation and Fuels at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). "Together, we’re preparing a skilled workforce needed to support industry's transition to electrification and a sustainable energy future."

Elevating engineering education

The BattChallenge is an elite public-private partnership and a premier North American collegiate engineering competition sponsored by DOE, Stellantis, and managed by Argonne National Laboratory. Launched in 2023, the competition features 12 university engineering teams, each collaborating with a local community college. This initiative provides students with invaluable experiential learning opportunities, working directly with industry experts on cutting-edge automotive challenges.

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"This remarkable talent of the students is clearly shown in this competition and matches perfectly toward our mission of building the battery workforce of the future," said Micky Bly, Stellantis’ Senior Vice President and Head of Global Propulsion Systems. "Stellantis is proud to support this initiative and encourage students to receive valuable real-world experience in the automotive EV space."

Looking ahead: Building and testing

As the competition progresses into its second year, the focus shifts to the construction and testing of the battery packs. Teams will refine their initial designs and begin integrating the battery packs into Ram ProMaster electric vans provided by Stellantis. This hands-on phase will see students bring their theoretical designs to life, preparing for comprehensive road tests in the final year of the competition.

The 2024 Ram ProMaster EV, introduced earlier this year, features a unibody design optimized for electrification, offering students a robust platform to test their battery solutions in real-world conditions. This opportunity underscores the importance of practical experience in preparing students for future careers in the EV industry.

Celebrating achievements and future prospects

The Year One finale, held at the Palmer House Hilton in Chicago on May 9, celebrated the achievements of the participating teams with numerous engineering and sponsor-related awards, along with $100,000 in prize money. Beyond the monetary rewards, the competition offers an unparalleled experience for students, providing a gateway to future career opportunities with industry leaders.

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The BattChallenge is part of DOE’s broader Battery Workforce Challenge Program, which encompasses regional training initiatives, STEM youth education, and an online career and technical education platform. This program aims to foster a diverse and skilled workforce to drive the future of domestic battery technology.

With continued support from sponsors including American Battery Technology Company, BASF, Eaton, AVL, Dana Corporation, MathWorks, Analog Devices, Inc., and Gamma Technologies, the BattChallenge is set to shape the future of battery engineering, ensuring a steady pipeline of talented professionals ready to lead the transition to a sustainable energy future.

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About the Author(s)

Michael C. Anderson

Editor-in-Chief, Battery Technology, Informa Markets - Engineering

Battery Technology Editor-in-Chief Michael C. Anderson has been covering manufacturing and transportation technology developments for more than a quarter-century, with editor roles at Manufacturing Engineering, Cutting Tool Engineering, Automotive Design & Production, and Smart Manufacturing. Before all of that, he taught English and literature at colleges in Japan and Michigan.

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