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EcoCar team to host promo at brewery


Joshua Starr


The contents of this article have been modified since its original posting.


The Mississippi State EcoCAR 3 team will combine craft beer and muscle cars with environmental advocacy in Gears & Beers, a promotional event for its customized 2016 Camaro Thursday at Mayhew Junction Brewing Company. 


The event will run from 5-8 p.m. at the Mayhew Junction facility on Eckford Drive. 


The four-year EcoCAR 3 competition requires MSU and the other 15 competing universities to promote their vehicles, which are altered for maximized fuel efficiency and power.  


Senior Ashley Madison, MSU EcoCAR communication manager, said the event will be the first of four promotions needed to fulfill the competition's requirements for the 2016-17 academic year. But she said it also advances the team's larger objectives to represent university research efforts and promote environmental consciousness through technology. 


"What we're trying to do is just showcase the work these students are doing on this vehicle and just spread awareness on what direction the automotive industry is leaning toward," Madison said. "Eventually we're pretty sure that it's going to be hybrid-electric driven, so our students are really leading the path in this kind of technology." 


Mayhew Junction will host tasting tours and there will be live entertainment. EcoCar team members will also update participants on its progress with the nearly completed Camaro. 


"We are doing a lot of performance work with the vehicle," Madison said. "Obviously because it's a Camaro, people expect that performance." 


She said among alterations to the stock V6 Camaro, the team has installed a custom gear drive to integrate electric power to the car, allowing it to reach the equivalent of 60 miles per gallon. Additionally, she said the Camaro can now hit speed 60 mph from zero in about 4.2 seconds, about a second faster than the car's factory specifications. 


Its design uses a two-cylinder snowmobile engine that is secondary to its two main electric motors.  


Madison said the idea to host a beer tasting promotion was sparked while touring the Mayhew facilities with team members in September when they discovered their guide was MSU engineering professor Jean Mohammadi-Aragh -- co-founder and part owner of the brewery. 


Partnering with the facility for outreach specifically targets college-age millennials, Madison said. 


"One of the things that millennials love right now is craft beer," she said. 


Mohammadi-Aragh said the EcoCAR team appreciated the engineering design of the Mayhew facilities. She said in addition to showcasing the EcoCAR team, event allows the team and the brewery to promote responsible drinking. To that end, event promotions by EcoCAR on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram have instructed participants to bring designated drivers for the tours.  


She said the event also benefits the brewery, which opened in January, because it is an opportunity to present its wares to local customers.  


"When they come in, they can see the facility [and] our fermenters where we brew beers on the first floor," Mohammadi-Aragh said. "Then they can head up the tasting room. You can sample up to six beers [in] six ounce samples, 36 ounces of beer. And we offer on the hour guided walkthroughs, about 30-minute tours where you get to speak to one of the brewers and really learn anything that you want to know about how we make beer."  





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