SEMA 2015 Final Update – Lessons (Part 2/2)

(More Photos at bottom)

Continued from Part 1/2:

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?

SEMA 2015 Final Update – 95+ Hours (Part 1/2)

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.

SEMA 2015 51-Hour Update

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.

SEMA 2015 42-Hour Update

“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.

SEMA 2015 19-Hour Update

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.

About Mike Blouin

Michael is the Electrical Team Lead on the University of Alberta Eco-Car team. This is his second year on the team, after taking the position of Sensors Team Lead in summer 2013. He is in his fourth year of Computer Engineering.