Passing the torch - Meet the 2015-16 EcoCar Team!

2015-16 EcoCar Team

This Saturday work-session, we decided to sit down with some of our new team-members and talk to them about their experience with EcoCar so far. Recruiting new talent is essential for the team's progress. This is precisely why EcoCar welcomes every new member's unique brand of creativity, problem-solving skills and passion. Here's what they had to say.

Ian Prescott (2nd Year, Electrical Engineering)
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I joined EcoCar because I like to think I have a passion for renewable energy and anything that could have a practical use in the future. A hydrogen fuel-cell powered car really interested me so I decided I wanted to get into that and help make that a reality. Also, it’s a different kind of learning experience than my regular labs, so I figure why not try and get some practical experience in there as well.
Right now I am assisting with the motor control board. I’m in the process of re-routing the board to make it a little smaller and a little better. I’m also doing this thing where I’m learning an additional PCB board software where I think I’m going to be trying to transfer a board.
I’ve been slowly learning, I’ve sort of figured out what each of the parts kind of do and I know how to route it really well for the most part. It’s definitely not a trivial task.

Ryan Grams (2nd Year, Electrical Engineering)
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I was looking for an opportunity to get involved as an engineer and I’m really interested in anything associated with helping the environment or technology dealing with reducing carbon emissions so EcoCar kind of fell right into that category. On the first day that I showed up just looking for information, the past Electrical Lead brought me right down to the Cage and showed me around and everything, and it was awesome so I was just kind of hooked from there.
I just want to get experience with PCB design and with other parts of the project because my end goal is to work in some field related to new eco-tech so I want to get my foot in the door and experience some of the work related to that. My favourite thing about EcoCar is that everyone knows vastly more than me so I guess I learn something new every Saturday because I had no idea about any of this before I showed up.

Natasha Pye (1st Year, Engineering)
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I am really interested in alternative energy so I thought this would be a really cool opportunity. It’s also really great to get some engineering experience. A lot of the people here have been through first year before and so I find it really useful for helping me kind of figure it out.
I want to get into Engineering Physics Nanotechnology. I think there are a lot of unknowns with that kind of tech and I think that by applying it, we can take it in a lot of different directions.
This year I just want to get a feel for the team and do more electrical stuff once I have more skills but I really just want to help out in any way I can which, right now, is on the admin side.
I would definitely recommend EcoCar to other first years who want to get more hands-on experience.

Koltin Kosik-Harvey (2nd Year, Electrical Engineering)
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I started on the fuel-cell controller, just doing some little niche revisions like cutting things that they don’t want or fixing things that don’t work, and now I’m routing the auxiliaries board. If I do anything that makes it work, that’s a success (laughs).
I just wanted to do something on the side and get some experience because I’m in the traditional engineering stream.
The people are really nice, it’s really cool, and you get to play around with a hydrogen fuel-cell.

Ishaat Chowdhury (1st Year, Engineering)
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I saw Ecocar in my ENGG 100 lecture when they came for the presentations, and it just kind of stuck with me. They had an electrical team, a lot of the other student design teams didn’t have it so I thought it would be a great opportunity to figure out what I want to do.
I just want to make something that would actually be in the car. I originally started out on the motor, but that didn’t pan out so now I’m on the LCD team and I’m looking forward to finishing that.
I like the environment here, it’s a pretty chill place. You work a bit and then you do fun stuff. Everyone is pretty friendly here.

Jori Romans (2nd Year, Engineering Physics-Nanoengineering)
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It (EcoCar) seems like a really cool project and I knew a few people from here so I thought I would give it a shot. I hope to make a meaningful contribution to the project. My favorite thing has probably been designing the circuits. I’m working on creating a blinking LED light using a programming chip from Atmel studios (to get a feel of things).

James An (1st Year, Engineering)
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I get to work on electrical stuff, it’s pretty fun. I want to learn more about how to work on PCB circuits and more about the electrical side of things because I may not go into EE. I like going to the meetings and doing stuff. I’m working on the CANbus board right now.

Marcus Boay (1st Year, Engineering)
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I thought it was a cool concept to build an energy efficient car. I want to get experience building the car because it’s cool. My favorite part has been working in groups. I’m currently working on the tow-hook project in the new car.

Mark MacCrimmon (2nd Year, Mechanical Engineering)
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I didn’t do any clubs in first year because I went to Grant McEwan University and I thought this would be a good way to get involved with something engineering related. I hope to keep learning more with Solidworks and what Marcus and I have been doing together for the EcoCar assembly. My favorite part has definitely been what Marcus and I have made in solidworks and actually being able to design parts that will become part of the car itself. We’ve designed a few parts in solidworks including a steering-wheel bracket, a tow-hook and the cargo box. We are currently working on the tow-hook bracket.

Iara Santelices (2nd Year, Engineering Physics)
Erik Herde (2nd Year, Electrical Engineering)

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Iara: I wanted to get some practical experience and thought that this (EcoCar) was a really great concept.
Erik: It (EcoCar) just seemed really cool. I think it’s a neat idea to be able to go as far as possible on a small amount of fuel.
Iara: My favorite thing about EcoCar so far has been learning new skills. There’s a lot of problem solving, perseverance, determination and getting to meet new people – the people who you might see in your classes but might not get to interact with.
Erik: I really liked doing soldering, just being able to put things together, that was probably my highlight. The Ecolympics challenges were also pretty sweet.
Iara: We’re working on the Accelerometer project. We’ve gotten it (the Arduino) to print an array of numbers and I have a code from class that allows me to plot the array as a graph. Getting the graph in real-time is the goal right now.
Erik: We want it set up so that if you move the Accelerometer up, you can see it in real time. We might use it for logging the vibration or the acceleration of a particular part.

It's pretty obvious that we have some excellent people joining the EcoCar team. Here's to a year of triumphs, happiness and lots of great engineering!

Co-author: Natasha Pye

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About Adnan Arif

A fourth year Chemical Engineering student at the U of A, Adnan is passionate about alternative energy, climate change and computer programming. Between assignments, exams and killing people in GTA, he tries to find time to work on EcoCar's Electrical and PR teams.

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