Where Are They Now: Challenge X and EcoCAR Alum Michael Barr

Michael Barr, a Mississippi State Challenge X and EcoCAR alum, is now a Systems Engineer at AVL Powertrain Engineering. He got involved in 2007 during Year 3 of Challenge X and continued through 2011 with Year 3 of EcoCAR. Michael was involved with MSU’s mechanical group and served as Mechanical/Powertrain Group Leader during his time with the team.

While on the team, he developed his passions and that is when he realized what he wanted to do with his life career-wise.

“After I got involved with Challenge X I knew this is what I wanted to do,” Michael said. He now serves different roles within his profession such as functional integration of mechanical, electrical, thermodynamic, and energy storage systems within hybrid and electrical vehicle applications. Michael primarily works on the design, build, and testing of HV batteries, but is also doing controls work on vehicle applications.


Michael’s experiences with AVTCs are the reason that he has a successful career that he has a passion for. The competitions sparked his interest and evolved into something that he wanted to spend the rest of his life doing.

“I love cars, and I wanted to work in the automotive industry.  I knew the AVTC program could get me this and that’s why I got involved.  I loved the entire experience (except maybe a few of the overnighters) and what I do now at AVL is very similar to everything that I did in Challenge X and EcoCAR.  I love what I do and wouldn’t change anything.”

Michael learned a lot from the experiences that the AVTCs brought him but one piece of advice that still sticks with him to this day is to have a good work ethic.

“If you work hard and have dedication you can do anything. Get involved, work hard, do your best, and WIN!”

One Response to Where Are They Now: Challenge X and EcoCAR Alum Michael Barr

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