SEMA 2016 62 Hour Update


Last night, the Electrical team was working away at full steam to sort out the hydrogen sensors and CANbus system to allow us to pass tech inspection.  With the car never having functioned on a hydrogen fuel cell before, we still were not sure if the car would even move.  This year, Shell implemented a new rule stating that teams could not work in the paddock area (where the cars and work stations are housed) from midnight until 6:00AM.  As this midnight deadline approached, the pressure mounted to fix these issues so that we could go to tech inspection as soon as it opened the next morning.  All hands were on deck as we were attempting to test all of the electrical systems with the fuel cell.

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At 11:59PM (I am not exaggerating, this literally happened one minute before the midnight work deadline), our motor spun for the first time powered by the fuel cell.  ALICE WORKS!!!  High fives and cheers ensued as the paddock area lights switched off for the night and the security guards cleared us out of the paddock.

Tech inspection opened at 9:00AM, and we were one of the first cars lined up ready to enter.  Our hydrogen sensor worked!!! 10/10; tech inspection was complete.

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The team rushed back to our paddock area to make sure all of the systems worked, and before we knew it Jason was in his driving suit and we were rolling Alice up to the indoor test track.  Now that we knew the car could run, we turned our attention to another crucial factor in the race: can Alice go fast enough to beat the maximum time limit.  As of now, Alice’s speed is 14km/h… we need to achieve at least 24km/h to meet the time limit.

We are on still on track to race this afternoon, which should give us a good idea of how much faster we need Alice to go for us to qualify a time for the fuel efficiency.

About Natasha Pye

I am currently in my second year of Engineering Physics with Nanotechnology. I am the Assistant Project Manager for EcoCar this year. Chances are, if I am not sleeping, eating, or doing homework, I am either working on EcoCar or playing Ultimate Frisbee.

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