The EcoCar team met again last Saturday to continue working on Alice. With the deadline for car completion just around the corner, our members our working hard, day and night (quite literally). After a hectic morning, we decided to take a break for a few minutes, eat some lunch and bond.
(More Photos at bottom)
I was once again powerless. I pulled over to the side of the track and put my hazards on (yes, we have those). In a flash, the safety crew surrounded me and hoisted me to the towing vehicle. Once the track was clear, I was given a tour of the track behind a safety car. It was not my proudest moment, but rather one of deep reflection. What prevented our success? What had led to all of our problems? Were they avoidable? What should we do differently next time?
We didn’t win this year. In fact, no one in our category did. Was it challenging? Yes. Was it brutally exhausting? Yes. Was it a failure? I would say no. The thing is (and I’m not trying to justify our lack of results), every one of our team members at competition, as well as many back home in Edmonton, poured their heart and souls into this project.
We came, we fixed, and we passed tech inspection. Now to the real race (just kidding – we’re in an efficiency competition)…
It was an early morning for our team as members made a supply trip to Home Depot. By what was “7 PM” (noon in normal people time), our axle was fixed and we were ready for round 2 of inspection. We had a few minor problems, but as the saying goes, “third time’s the charm.” In round 3, we welcomed the addition of safety stickers to our growing collection and were finally ready for the track.
“Let’s just go to tech inspection and figure out everything wrong with our car.” -EcoCar
Today was the day of our technical inspection – the critical step that gives us our safety verification and allows us onto the track. Incidentally, high winds caused a track closure that lasted all day, but this didn’t bother us. For hydrogen teams, tech inspection often ends up being the main event, largely due to the rigorous leak testing we go through.
We came here to eat pizza and to set records, and we’re all out of pizza. The 2014-2015 EcoCar Team has finally made it to Shell Ecomarathon Americas 2015. You can follow our progress with the beta SEMA tracking app.
A routine flight to Minneapolis treated us with a great view of one of America’s Greenest Cities and its numerous bike lanes, but with worrying weather working its way north in the American Mid-West, we were anxious to make it to Detroit before any tornado warnings would delay our flight. Oddly, a mechanical issue with out McDonnell-Douglas MD-90 ended up delaying our flight by three hours, which was followed by snowfall and logistical problems at the Minneapolis airport. After more than four hours waiting on the plane (and doing laps around the de-icing lots), we finally left the Twin Cities for Motor City.
Here at the EcoCar blog, we have the opportunity all the time to tell what the team as a whole is up to, but we never really get the chance to sit down and focus on the human side of the team. With the EcoCar world being hectic as ever, I wanted to try something different and focus on a single team member who has been committed to the team for as long as any other.
The Saturday work session this week was quite exciting. With the physical construction of our new car at hand, there’s lots of action and opportunity to get one’s hands dirty. On that note, let’s start with our merry band of MecE’s…
It’s no secret that the body which decorates the newspapers and posters (and the winners’ circle) is the product of the Mechanical Engineering team. They are the ones that design the suspension and braking and many other components of the physical car, and they also have the claims on the aeroshell, which gives us our sleek, dangerous, “you-wish-you-were-this-efficient” look. But underneath it all, how does the car look? This week, we get a very special sneak peek:
Sometimes even the best and bravest get overwhelmed under a mountain of midterms and assignments and projects. The EcoCar team has been a little lax on letting the outside world know what we’ve been up to, so we’re going to make up for it now that we can see 20 feet in front of us without having to worry about a harrowing assignment. We want to let you know about the progress that’s been made, and about the status of the team. Spoiler Alert: everything is awesome.
This week marks an exciting time in any year for the Eco Car team.
The team has been hard at work preparing for the arrival of a new cohort of engineers and innovators. After several weeks of attending events such as the engineering carnival, orientation, and the engineering expo in order to promote interest in the team, we finally got a first look at what will eventually be the future of our team. And let me tell you, it looks good.