EcoCar3's Chevrolet Camaro

In the 47-year-history of the Chevrolet Camaro, there have been countless college-age kids spending a ton of time getting under the hood and souping 'em up. Now, General Motors is adding a twist to the concept by donating 16 Camaros for the EcoCar challenge that puts university teams together to wring out better fuel-efficiency out of various vehicles. No word on whether there will be donuts on anyone's lawn, as suggested by 80's punks the Dead Milkmen, but the idea's never a bad one.

EcoCar3 will feature 16 teams such as Arizona State, Penn State, Ontario's University of Waterloo and, of course, Detroit's Wayne State University. They'll spend the next four years "[reducing] environmental impact, while maintaining the muscle and performance expected from this iconic American car," as the EcoCar organizers say. The goal is to maintain body design and safety standards while boosting efficiency and lowering emissions, but the actual process is far more complicated than that description suggests. The California Air Resources Board (CARB) and Bosch are among the sponsors of the contest, which is also put on by the US Department of Energy and managed by Argonne National Laboratory.

Penn State won Year Two of the three-year EcoCar 2 competition with its E85 plug-in hybrid electric vehicle converted out of a Chevy Malibu. The grand-prize winner of EcoCar2 will be announced in June. Check out the EcoCar3 website and see the announcement video below for more details.