We have completed the competition and have been awarded a third place finish out of a total of 19 full hybrid cars.  Considering this is our first year at competition and the fact that the first and second place finishers had excellent drivers we are extremely pleased with our place.  We really could not have asked for more!!  I still can't stop smiling!

I posted some more pictures to the gallery from the endurance event.

Matt

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After the stressful technical inspections on Monday and Tuesday we did quite well today and breezed through the rest of our inspections and then completed our acceleration and autocross events with respectable times.  The official times have not been posted yet, but its looking like we should be in the top 5 out of around 23 schools.  Considering this is our first year we are very pleased and our data logging system is already providing us with extremely valuable data for optimizing our system for next year. 

The fastest track time on autocross was about 41 seconds and ours was 47 seconds.  The fastest times were set by the Italian team and Texas A&M.  There were probably 3 to 4 schools ahead of us in that gap.  Unfortunately, I got a little hot on the throttle and spun out on my second run, but Ace (our other driver) kept the car in control and secured the 47 second lap time.  We feel like our car could have performed significantly better, but with our limited driving experience we did our best.

I'll post some pics here, but check the gallery too for other pictures and videos.

Matt
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The second evening at the track
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Getting ready for our acceleration runs
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Ace finishing his first run in autocross
 
 
Well, competition has been quite busy and tiring so far.  We finally passed through both the mechanical and electrical technical inspections at about 5 pm today. 
The electrical inspection went quite smoothly thanks mostly to the great design that Justin has done for us.  The wiring was extremely well isolated and tidy making this inspection a breeze.
Mechanical inspection, on the other hand took us a while to get through.  Unfortunately, the shoulder harness mounting bar was not up to spec with new rules so we had to weld in some tubes.  This was difficult because of the lack of proper equipment.  Fortunately, the other teams have been so great in sharing their tools allowing for us to finish this up. 

Tomorrow we will need to finish up the tilt test and noise test and then we will be fully through the inspections.  After that the racing will begin.  First are the acceleration and brake events and then later in the day will be the autocross race.

Check out some new photos from comp!
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Just setting up in the NASCAR garages
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The three Cali teams!
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Look at all the other schools
 
 
Wow!!  I cannot believe it, but it seems that the car is completed.  Validation testing and practice driving has been done to prove to us that we can make it through the competition. 

All I can say is that this has been a truly amazing experience and am so thankful for all of the help we have received from our school and sponsors.  I think the car looks so beautiful and we are very happy and excited for competition!!
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We officially turned the wheels under electric power only on Saturday, 3/13/10, for the first time ever!!
 
 
On Friday and Saturday the motor mounting was nearly completed along with the broaching of the sprockets used to connect the motor to our transmission.  Since both of the shafts that the sprockets are mated on happen to be odd metric sizes and machining a proper broaching tool would have been fairly time consuming we decided to go ahead and wire EDM the notches.  
A couple of set screws and a few other quick tasks are required to complete this project, but it should be functional within the end of the coming week.

Next up will be finishing the high voltage wiring so that we can get this thing up and running for testing!

Matt
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This has to be the most underestimated component on our car.  We figured that this box would be designed in about a week and then fabricated in another one or two weeks.  We could not have been any more wrong!  It has almost been two months now and it is just now coming upon completion.  The main reason for the large time requirement turned out to be from the many safety constraints on the materials selection for the box.  The ideal material would be one that is non-conductive, flame retardant, and mechanically robust.  Finding one material that is economical and easy  to work with while meeting the previous requirements turned out to be the greatest difficulty.  

In the end we chose a composite design in which the container is made from aluminum and then lined with multiple sheets of Nomex cloth to achieve the flame resistance and non-cunductive properties desired.  As with all of our designs weight saving was key and this design met that criteria best while having a great safety performance as well.

Overall we are extremely pleased with the outcome of the box.
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So far this quarter has been spent with finalizing the design of many of our electrical power train components.  Within the past week or so we began manufacturing those components, such as the battery and motor controller boxes, motor mount and dashboard housing.  The battery box turned out to be far more complicated to design for us due to the electrical shock hazard safety constraints of using a conductive material.  In the end we were able to choose a design that is very safe yet light in weight.
The next couple of weeks will be pretty busy for us because our plan is to have the car drivable via both the electric and gas power systems for testing by the end of February.  After sufficient validation testing the appropriate corrections will be made to any components if necessary and then the car will be stripped and painted.  A few final test drives will be done to ensure everything gets properly installed.

Matt
 
 
Today the gasoline power system was completely integrated into the vehicle and the car was started up and driven around.  This is a great milestone for us because we were able to meet our schedule exactly to the day, all while being a first year team.  Here are some more pictures of the car.
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This quarter our plan was to get the vehicle to run powered by the ICE while concurrently designing the electrical power system.  Here are a few photos of the car.  It is so close to being drivable!
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