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It might seem odd for a car to be the focal point of an Earth Week celebration, but the EcoCAR3 is no ordinary car.

The University of Tennessee’s EcoCAR3 team, Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero, and Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett will be on hand Saturday at Earth Fest at World’s Fair Park. Earth Day is Wednesday, April 22.

The team will be available to answer questions related to the program, which is part of a twenty-six-year effort known as the Advance Vehicle Technology Competition (AVTC), under the US Department of Energy.

“We’ll be out there to talk to people, to address any interests they have in the Camaro, in the program, or in the environment,” said UT team media representative Elizabeth Floyd. “We’ll have giveaways and opportunities for people—including the mayors—to get their pictures taken with the car.”

EcoCAR 3, the current iteration of the competition, is trying to leverage the “muscle power” of the iconic Chevrolet Camaro while at the same time reducing its impact on the environment via hybrid power capabilities.

GM donated a Camaro to each of the sixteen university teams to experiment with for the competition.

The AVTC has had a series of competitions over the years with the goal of increasing efficiency in vehicles, moving toward hybrid power systems, and exploring fuel options. Each team is made up of students from engineering, businesses and communication programs, with the idea being to not only produce a more efficient vehicle but market it as well.

The DOE, through Argonne National Laboratory, helps with logistics and testing, while Siemens donated software that the team uses.

In addition to altering the environmental impact of the car itself, the team is committed to providing outreach about the program, having visited the Science Café at Ijiams Nature Center, STEM training at Holston Middle School, and several other events at UT, as well as the recent FIRST Robotics competition.

Next week, the team will take part in Sevierville’s Earth Day celebrations at the Sevierville City Park Pavilion on Wednesday and UT’s celebration hosted by the Office of Sustainability at the Humanities Amphitheater on Thursday. They’ll also meet with students from Austin-East High School and the L&N STEM Academy.

“It’s a busy time for us, for sure, but we enjoy getting out the message about the program and about hybrid vehicles,” said Floyd. “If anyone is interested in the environment or even just wants to see a Camaro, we’d love to see them Saturday.”


David Goddard (865-974-0683,