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CAR Celebrates 25th Anniversary

Led by Professor Giorgio Rizzoni for the past 17 years, The Ohio State University's Center for Automotive Research (CAR) is devoted to preparing the next generation of automotive industry leaders, while collaborating with companies and government on advanced mobility research.

From its origin as a concept in the minds of leaders at Honda, Transportation Research Center, the State of Ohio and Ohio State, the center has evolved since 1991 to become an internationally-recognized research hub in sustainable and safe mobility. CAR was founded when leaders from these institutions established the Transportation Research Endowment Program, which called for a dedicated Center for Automotive Research at Ohio State.

The past 25 years have seen industry collaboration grow from a handful of original equipment manufacturers and suppliers to a long list of companies and government agencies that take advantage of the center’s expertise and neutrality. The most dramatic growth has been seen since 1999, when the center increased its annual operating budget tenfold to $10 million and has become the largest university-based interdisciplinary automotive research center in the United States. Long-standing partner Ford Motor Company has contributed. In 2013 CAR led negotiations that resulted in Ohio State being included in the Ford Alliance program, which at the time included only four other universities in North America. Further growth has also been driven by newer collaborators, such as Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, which has successfully conducted multi-year projects with the center and recruited many alumni.

Hands-on work—in the lab and in the garage—is the hallmark of the unique educational experience CAR delivers to students. Faculty hold laboratory classes at the center, just steps away from the 24/7 garage home of the university’s six motorsports teams, open to any student at Ohio State.

One of those teams, the Venturi Buckeye Bullet 3 recently shattered its own record to become the world’s fastest electric vehicle at 341 miles per hour, merely a milestone on the way to the targeted 400mph. Ohio State’s definending national champion EcoCAR 3 team—re-engineering a Chevrolet Camaro—is also at CAR, as is the award-winning Buckeye Current electric motorcycle. Formula Buckeyes SAE, an open-wheeled racer, the off-road Ohio State Baja SAE and the university’s Women in Engineering-sponsored Supermileage SAE teams round out the fleet.

So how will CAR drive mobility innovation over the next 25 years?

“Everything we do here is aimed at the car of the future,” David B. Williams said, dean of the College of Engineering. “The center has played a major role in helping the Columbus community win the U.S. Department of Transportation Smart City award, which is focused on smart transportation—not just in Columbus, but as an example to the rest of the country.”

With a solid history of leading automotive research, the center plans to take on its next challenge: leveraging its expertise to move forward in the Smart City endeavor.

All this while continuing its tradition of collaborating with industry, government and academia, and producing high-caliber students from its headquarters at 930 Kinnear Road, on the West Campus of Ohio State.

Join the celebration of CAR’s 25th anniversary—RSVP here!


Article information from Holly Henley, CAR PR and Marketing Coordinator