Emilie Rusch

Mines, ACC team named first-year champions of Battery Workforce Challenge

Honored for best battery pack design, team to receive 2024 Ram ProMaster van for next phase of competition
Mines and ACC team with the 2024 RAM ProMaster

A team of student automotive engineers and technicians from Colorado School of Mines and Arapahoe Community College have been named the Year 1 champions of the Battery Workforce Challenge sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy and global automaker Stellantis.

The Mines-ACC team beat out collegiate automotive powerhouses across North America for the first honor of the three-year competition. In this first year, teams were judged on the design of their electric vehicle battery packs. 

“We're deeply honored that Mines has been selected as the champions of the inaugural Battery Workforce Challenge 1st Year Competition and the team is deeply grateful for the support of the US Department of Energy, Argonne National Lab, and Stellantis,” said Adam Duran, one of the team’s faculty advisors and assistant teaching professor of mechanical engineering at Mines. “BattChallenge is truly a one-of-a-kind contest, and we appreciate the opportunity to compete against some of the top automotive programs in the country on a national stage. Even as the automotive program at Mines continues to grow, BattChallenge remains a feather in Mines’ cap when it comes to immersive, hands-on, industry-based student experiences on campus.” 

The Mines-ACC team is one of 12 collegiate teams across North America competing in the inaugural BattChallenge. Over the course of the three-year competition, teams have been tasked to design, build, test and integrate an advanced EV battery into a future Stellantis vehicle, with the goal of building the next generation of engineers, technicians and workers to address the unprecedented demand for a domestic EV workforce.

As part of the challenge, each university has also teamed up with a local community college, trade school or vocational partner. ACC is home to one of the best automotive technology programs in the nation, with students working in the local automotive industry while also taking academic and automotive courses at ACC.

Mines team members describe battery pack design to judges
Students on the Mines-ACC team explain their battery pack design to judges during the Battery Workforce Challenge Year One Competition in Chicago earlier this month. (Photo courtesy of Polina Ringler)


In the first round of the competition, teams were judged on everything from cell characterization and testing to the pack-level design, including thermal, mechanical, and electrical considerations as well as stringent safety standards. Second place went to The Ohio State University and Columbus State Community College team, with the University of Alabama and Shelton State Community College team taking third place. Additional recognitions earned by the Mines-ACC team included:

  • Best Winter Workshop Technical Design Review Presentation
  • Best Competition Final Technical Review
  • Best Cell Characterization Analysis Report: Runner-Up

Polina Ringler, the team’s other faculty advisor at Mines and assistant teaching professor of mechanical engineering, was also named the winner of the BattChallenge Outstanding Faculty Award. The award recognizes a university and a vocational faculty advisor who provides exceptional guidance, support, and mentorship to their team, significantly contributing to the team’s growth, learning, and success in the competition.

With the second year of the competition starting now, the Mines-ACC team isn’t about to rest on its laurels. 

Over the next year, teams will refine their Year 1 designs and begin assembling the battery for their vehicle, a Ram ProMaster electric van from Stellantis. In the final year of the competition, teams will integrate their battery packs into their vehicle and conduct comprehensive road tests.

Introduced earlier this year, the 2024 Ram ProMaster EV is designed specifically for electrification, featuring a unibody design that efficiently incorporates the production battery pack. The work van is suited to perform commercial activities and also provides an opportunity for the student teams to design batteries for bigger vehicles. 

"The team is already gearing up for next year. We're thrilled to welcome new students aboard and transition from focusing on battery pack design to fabrication,” Duran said. “Our students are eager to build upon their early successes and showcase why Mines students rank among the top engineers and scientists globally.  We’re also looking forward to working even closer with our partners Arapahoe Community College and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory as we enter the second year of the competition."

Emilie Rusch

Emilie Rusch

Director of Communications
About Mines
Colorado School of Mines is a public R1 research university focused on applied science and engineering, producing the talent, knowledge and innovations to serve industry and benefit society – all to create a more prosperous future.