The General Motors Desert Proving Grounds in Yuma have a storied history – remote, in the scorching desert, the scenery is something of which car commercials are made. The mountains surround cacti-laden plains, which cue images of GM test track drivers laying rubber streaks on the hot pavement as they assess the newest models.
The Desert Proving Grounds provide the spectacular backdrop for EcoCAR 2. And given its remote location and its rep for being a top GM facility, the DPG is a place to which visiting reporters rarely lay eyes. Not to mention, reporter excitement to learn about EcoCAR 2 is palpable since a visit to Yuma provides top-flight automotive reporters a chance to ask their own questions about each team’s unique design.
Reporters like Kim Reynolds, Testing Director for Motor Trend, peppered teams with questions, asking about their powertrains, their battery packs and why EcoCAR 2 is important to the students’ own development. General Motors Executives like Jim Kolhoff, Global Chief Engineer & Program Manager – Transmission & Hybrid Controls, and John Haraf, Director of Hybrid Vehicle Integration and Controls, educated Reuters National Correspondent Tim Gaynor (pictured) about the importance of being able to recruit students directly from EcoCAR 2. Kolhoff and Haraf explained that EcoCAR 2’s hands-on, highly-technical training allows GM on-board top university talent to solve real-world challenges immediately upon graduation
While so many local, Yuma-based reporters are familiar with the GM DPG operation, EcoCAR 2 provided a unique opportunity for these local journalists to see how the facility assists in training the next generation of automotive engineers. The Yuma Sun featured EcoCAR2 in its widely-read paper, explaining that EcoCAR 2 “drives auto engineers to excel.” Meantime, local television stations KYMA (NBC) and KSWT (CBS) carried full-length reports, explaining how EcoCAR 2 offers an unparalleled hands-on, real-world experience for students, the only program of its kind.
GM Desert Proving Ground Enables EcoCAR 2 Teams to Showcase Work to National, Local Media