|January 31, 2012||Posted by Kim.Tootle under Video Post, Year One Posts|
|November 16, 2013||Posted by Yance under Uncategorized|
MSU team members had the unique opportunity to host the Starkville Fire Department today. Four firemen, including Fire Chief Rodger Mann, came to CAVS to tour the facility and learn more about EcoCAR 2.
After giving a brief presentation, the team was able to take the firemen to our car and show them around. They were very interested in our vehicle architecture and the necessary safety precautions first responders should take when approaching vehicle accidents involving hybrids.
Our team spent time showing the firemen the precautions we take around the vehicle and how these measures could apply to first responders. They were especially interested in the high voltage systems. Stephen Hayden demonstrated to the firemen how our systems are marked and how other systems may be marked in similar fashion.
The team also took time to talk about the EcoCAR 2 competition with the firemen. We were able to answer all of their questions about the aspects and work involved in competition. They were genuinely interested in what we do and asked very pertinent questions.
We had a great time with the firemen. They are a special group and we were proud to serve them in this small way.
|November 11, 2013||Posted by Claire under Uncategorized|
Tom Goddette recently graduated from Mississippi State University after being involved with Advanced Vehicle Technology Competitions (AVTCs) for five years. He was able to work on the EcoCAR and EcoCAR 2 projects. MSU’s team caught back up with him after his move to Michigan to begin his career at AVL. He offered words of advice and said what he sees in the future for AVTCs
What was your position on the Mississippi State team?
I didn’t really have a traditional position on the team. I was an undergrad/graduate student in mechanical engineering so I helped physically build the car but I also helped design the battery and work on the electrical systems.At the same time I was one of the engineers that really enjoyed participating in outreach events, so I really tried to go to as many events as I could, helping to promote the team and EcoCAR.
What was your favorite experience while on the MSU EcoCAR 2 Team?
It is hard to pick one favorite experience. Competition each year is always a great time. Not only do you get to compete with a car that you have been working on for a least a year (sometimes longer), you also get to see all the other teams hard work.
What did you learn by being a part of the MSU EcoCAR 2 Team?
EcoCAR is a major project, especially since it is a completely student run project. One of the best things that I took away from EcoCAR was the need for planning and preparing before doing anything. There is so much that has to be completed at each stage of EcoCAR and everyone on the team, engineering and non-engineering majors both, have to come together and work if the team is going to do well.
What is your role at AVL?
I am currently a project engineer in the design group. I work in multiple CAD packages designing engine components and systems for AVL clients.
How did EcoCAR 2 help prepare you for your role at AVL?
EcoCAR was a great learning experience that directly correlates to the work that I do now. In EcoCAR we design a hybrid vehicle powertrain from the ground up. We had to worry about the same things that I have to worry about now; space, weight, safety, maintenance, and costs all come into play and have to be considered.
What advice do you have for new EcoCAR 2 team members?
Don’t waste any time! Just because you are new on the team doesn’t mean that you can’t get things done. There is ALWAYS something that you can be helping with and it doesn’t always require intimate knowledge of your teams EcoCAR or cars in general.
What do you see in the future for AVTCs?
I really hope to see more advanced vehicle architecture coming out of the next few competitions. The software and hardware that is donated by the sponsors is definitely capable of simulating some advanced stuff and I would really love to see a school come up with something that blows everyone away.
|October 20, 2013||Posted by Claire under Uncategorized|
MSU team members traveled to Jackson, MS Friday, October 4th to attend “Invention Convention” at Madison Crossing Elementary School.
MSU’s Communications Manager, Claire Faccini and Controls Group member, Trent Workman, were able to speak to five different fifth grade classes about alternative fuel vehicles, the EcoCAR 2 competition, and MSU’s sustainability efforts. Not only did the team members educate the classes about Year Three of the competition and MSU’s progress, they were able to learn a few things about what fifth grade car buyers would like to see implemented in the future.
The following are some ideas for Year Three from Madison Crossing fifth graders:
“I would want a soda, coffee, and water machine, and a good looking car.”
“A bubble jet pack to have bubbles in the car.”
“A voice that tells jokes to you while you’re driving.”
Some students really thought outside of the box and used their brain to be creative and come up with resourceful ideas that could really appeal to the next few generations of car buyers. Some ideas dealt with safety features but a few stood out. When asked what they would like to see in MSU’s EcoCAR 2 vehicle, students answered:
“A tornado shelter.”
The fifth graders at Madison Crossing put a lot of thought into how to refine the team’s vehicle and make it acceptable for all consumers. “Invention Convention” focuses on new and different ways to make things work while being creative at the same time. The kids were engaged and excited that they could help college student make something better through their inventive ideas and the team was glad to hear from a generation that will one day be in their shoes, working with sustainability. And lastly, the team’s favorite response of the day was:
“So, I’m 11…can I join the MSU EcoCAR 2 team?!”
|September 29, 2013||Posted by Claire under Non Technical Post|
The MSU EcoCAR 2 team arrived in Natick, MA Wednesday, September 25th for the Year Three Fall Workshop. Nine team members learned about the rules and expectations of the competition as well as received hands-on training.
Students participated in technical instruction sessions as well as hands-on hardware training from competition sponsor, Freescale Semiconductor. Team members learned the basics of controls for the vehicle and project management, as well as more advanced tasks from other competition sponsors such as Siemens, dSPACE, AVL, and General Motors.
The different training sessions offered a variety of information to all of the teams and the MSU business manager, Chris Hoop, found the varying perspectives to be very helpful.
“As a new team member, I was able to really immerse myself in the program at the workshop. The project management training by one of our sponsors, EarthPM, gave me the tools to effectively navigate through Year Three,” he said.
The members were also invited to attend a sponsor social in the The Verve-Crowne Plaza where they were able to meet competition sponsors to discuss potential employment or to ask for advice on the competition. In the past, these socials have always been an integral part of the competition and are extremely helpful in providing students a gateway into the automotive industry.
The team would like to especially thank MathWorks for hosting all 15 teams at their Natick campus and for providing them this excellent opportunity for learning and growing as a team.
Photo credits: EcoCAR 2 Flickr
|September 10, 2013||Posted by Claire under Uncategorized|
Year Three is officially underway for the 137 Bulldawgs that attended the 2013 Fall Kick-Off meeting for the Mississippi State EcoCAR 2 Team. Students from 15 different majors expressed their interest in joining the team in their goal to refine and optimize the 2013 Chevy Malibu, donated by General Motors in Year Two. The rapid growth in student involvement this semester is promising to the team, who is already busy preparing for the final competition of EcoCAR 2: Plugging In To the Future.
This summer was relatively calm after placing fifth in the Year Two competition that took place in May. However, things are swiftly gearing up again for the team. Tours, organization fairs, new student events, meetings, school visits, and of course, refining the EcoCAR 2 are all on the to-do list for the immediate months. Fortunate for MSU, there are now over 100 students to aid in this process.
Members of the team will be traveling to Natick, MA for the EcoCAR 2 Fall Workshop on September 25th, hosted by the MathWorks. The students will receive one-on-one training from sponsors and professionals on how to use the different types of software that will be required by the competition. The business and communication students will also receive special help on how to accomplish the tasks set before them by the competition organizers.
The final year of the EcoCAR 2 competition may prove to be the most tedious and difficult year yet. However, with the support of the Mississippi State students and the Starkville community, they are ready to wear maroon proudly and represent the best cowbell-ringing school in the world, through doing what they do best: getting down to business.
To keep up with MSU’s EcoCAR 2 team throughout the Year Three refinement process, follow them on Twitter: @MSStateEcoCAR2 or “like” them on Facebook: Mississippi State EcoCAR 2 Team.
|May 26, 2013||Posted by Claire under Uncategorized|
The MSU EcoCAR 2 Team recently returned from Year 2 Final Competition where they were fortunate to be awarded with some of the highest honors that the program has to offer. After one week of testing their vehicle at General Motor’s Desert Proving Grounds in Yuma, AZ and one week of presenting different aspects of the process of building the hybrid, the team walked away with the 5th place trophy. Claire Faccini, the Communications Manager, spoke on the subject.
“Coming in to the competition as the Year One champions put a lot of pressure on the team, in a good way. We started out in second place but because of a major mechanical problem, we were only able to get fifth. However, we considered it a huge success,” Claire said.
The unexpected error occurred in the custom hybrid powertrain on the third to last day, was fixed on the second day, and the car was running events on the last day. This in itself was an incredible feat to pull off because of the team’s dedication. The team completely dropped the powertrain and reassembled it (basically rebuilt the entire front of the car) within 20 hours.
“It was amazing to see and other teams even told us that we ‘inspired’ them to overcome challenges that they faced. To our team, that is where we won. There was no time to feel sorry for ourselves or be disappointed. We knew what we had to do and got it done.”
The Mississippi State University Provost, Dr. Jerry Gilbert, and the Vice President of Research, Dr. David Shaw, were able to attend a “Ride & Drive” in San Diego. They were able to take the vehicle for a spin and get to know the team and see first hand that regardless of the set-backs, these bulldawgs were determined to succeed.
Despite the challenges presented to the team in the Arizona desert, they persevered and focused on perfecting their presentations for the second leg of the trip. The MSU team took home many top honors including:
Best Vehicle Design Review Presentation
Best Controls Presentation
Best Communications Presentation
3rd Place Overall Business Program
3rd Place MathWorks Modeling Award
1st Place dSPACE Video Award
“Garnering the fifth place position seemed nearly impossible when we dropped our powertrain in Yuma. However, we really showed our Bulldawg spirit in San Diego and we are proud of how far we were able to come.”
|April 22, 2013||Posted by Claire under Uncategorized|
Michael Barr, a Mississippi State Challenge X and EcoCAR alum, is now a Systems Engineer at AVL Powertrain Engineering. He got involved in 2007 during Year 3 of Challenge X and continued through 2011 with Year 3 of EcoCAR. Michael was involved with MSU’s mechanical group and served as Mechanical/Powertrain Group Leader during his time with the team.
While on the team, he developed his passions and that is when he realized what he wanted to do with his life career-wise.
“After I got involved with Challenge X I knew this is what I wanted to do,” Michael said. He now serves different roles within his profession such as functional integration of mechanical, electrical, thermodynamic, and energy storage systems within hybrid and electrical vehicle applications. Michael primarily works on the design, build, and testing of HV batteries, but is also doing controls work on vehicle applications.
Michael’s experiences with AVTCs are the reason that he has a successful career that he has a passion for. The competitions sparked his interest and evolved into something that he wanted to spend the rest of his life doing.
“I love cars, and I wanted to work in the automotive industry. I knew the AVTC program could get me this and that’s why I got involved. I loved the entire experience (except maybe a few of the overnighters) and what I do now at AVL is very similar to everything that I did in Challenge X and EcoCAR. I love what I do and wouldn’t change anything.”
Michael learned a lot from the experiences that the AVTCs brought him but one piece of advice that still sticks with him to this day is to have a good work ethic.
“If you work hard and have dedication you can do anything. Get involved, work hard, do your best, and WIN!”
|April 15, 2013||Posted by Claire under Uncategorized|
The Mississippi State University EcoCAR 2 electrical team has been working relentlessly wiring the car. While there are a few kinks that need to be worked out, the electrical systems are letting this car “Cruze” around. It has been a long and challenging process, but with some valuable insight from the team’s controls team leader, Jon Moore, this car has taken shape. This three man team of Blake Brown, Lee Sargent and Hagan Walker has completed the electrical work necessary for this car to compete and it would be a surprise to any onlooker that none of these invaluable team members had previously wired an automotive electrical system.
This team decided to use the engine out of a Chevrolet Cruze, the transmission out of a GMC Terrain, and a custom chain drive system. All of these important mechanical parts are then controlled by a dSPACE MicroAutoBox and RapidPro. The integration of the mechanical and software halves of this car is done largely by the electrical team’s wiring and electronics. This meant that the team needed to create custom wiring harnesses and new circuits to make these devices interface properly. A great example of this is the engine bay’s new 12 volt bus bar that the team sees as an improvement to the previous design because it allows for an engineer to replace any of the fuses as necessary without replacing the whole bus bar. Additionally, this allowed the team to provide power to more devices in the engine bay while maintaining some of the factory engine styling.
With all of the electronics that would make Pimp My Ride jealous, this Electrical Engineering team got its first foray into mechanical engineering building ridged structures to support this hybrid’s controls and charging systems. These mounts needed to support the Rapid Pro, MicroAutoBox, APM, Charger and necessary support electronics. These carbon-fiber structures also needed to provide sufficient cable management for the dozens of wires running to these systems. This team has created a structurally sound container that is ergonomically hidden in the trunk of the Malibu.
|March 25, 2013||Posted by Claire under Team Member Highlight, Technical Post, Year Two Posts|
Being a freshman on a college campus already has its setbacks. However, being a freshman on the Mississippi State University EcoCar 2 team has no limitations, especially for Stephen Hayden. After only being part of the team for three months, MSU’s EcoCAR 2 leaders trusted freshman Stephen in leading the preparation of the molds for the Energy Storage System (ESS) containing high voltage components. The team also allowed him to play a crucial role in the creation of the actual ESS carbon fiber enclosure. Since he is a freshman, and new to the EcoCar 2 challenge, composite work was a brand new field for him. The only experience he had in the past with composite work was working with fiberglass.
“Though carbon fiber is similar to fiberglass, it is a completely different beast. Therefore, creating the ESS out of carbon fiber was a very long and tedious process, but an amazing learning experience,” Stephen said.
The top section of the ESS consisted of three layers of material. The first two layers placed on the ESS were fiberglass, in order to make the entire ESS dielectric. Then, a layer of carbon fiber was applied to the mold.
The bottom section of the ESS contained two layers of fiberglass. But, as opposed to one layer of carbon fiber, several were applied to the bottom section of the ESS to provide extra rigidity and strength. An area that required special attention was the center section of the ESS; an “X” of unidirectional carbon fiber weave was added to increase the torsion strength in the center.
Creating the ESS out of carbon fiber allowed the team to create a rigid, yet incredibly light, high voltage enclosure. The two sections of the ESS, the top and the bottom, weigh only a total of twenty-five pounds. Laying up carbon fiber for the ESS was a completely new experience for Stephen. Despite this, he thoroughly enjoyed learning how to work with this material.
“I feel fortunate to be a part of such a wonderful team that allows freshmen to participate in creating such key components for the vehicle. I am blessed to be able to call Mississippi State University home and be part of such a wonderful EcoCar 2 team at the Center for Advanced Vehicular Systems.”
|March 22, 2013||Posted by Claire under Year Two Posts|
Last semester, outreach coordinators organized a trip to Petite Le Mans in Atlanta to represent the MSU EcoCAR 2 Team. Their experience was something they will not be forgetting in the near future.
With the start of the new fall semester comes the start of a new cycle in the MSU EcoCAR2 team’s race to win the national title. 2012 is no different. And with the new cycle comes new opportunities to reach out to the general public and share with them what they’re doing in Starkville.
In October, three members of the team (Rachel Wheeler, Blake Brown and John Stewart) along with staff advisor Matthew Doude and Faculty Advisor Dr. Molen Marshall took the EPA up on their invitation to attend the Petite Le Mans race just outside of Atlanta, Georgia. For three days, the team was present, along with the EcoCAR1 hybrid vehicle, to showcase their work, knowledge and perceptions of the future. In addition, they were able to witness what is, arguably, the most technologically advanced use of alternative fuel-powered cars in the world. Every car entered in the race is required to use some sort of alternative fuel (e.g. isobutynol, ethanol, etc.) and some even harnessed the power of electricity for an added boost.
“It was a car person’s dream to attend this event. We were very excited to join the EPA in showcasing ‘green’ technology and what we’ve accomplished here at Mississippi State [University]. I think, for me at least, it was the highlight of the event to be granted access to the pit area where we were able to talk with the pit crews and engineers about what it is they’re doing with the cars. The level of planning, technology and the overall teamwork that goes into these multi-million dollar cars is not only staggering to a car aficionado but it’s overwhelming to an aspiring engineer. I mean, these guys sit around in what down time they have and think up new ways to find a competitive edge. A great example is the centrifugal flywheel!” – John Stewart, Powertrain Team Leader
The centrifugal flywheel is an electric “booster” that stores up energy that the driver can use later for about an additional nine seconds worth of power. The idea has been around for a while and is currently used in locomotives on a much larger scale. However, it is just now making its way into the race and daily-driver market.
The team was well-received during the race weekend. Their expo was set up in Vendor Village alongside the EPA’s tent. People from all over the country go to Atlanta to witness one of the greatest races in this country. And some of the spectators knew who the MSU EcoCAR2 team was.
“We never had a bad question. Even when people were unfamiliar with what we do or the competition in general, once we started explaining to them what we’re doing and why, overall interest peaked. Everyone wanted to know ‘Is this what my hybrid is?’ or ‘Can I expect this level of performance in a hybrid if I buy one?’ Then there were the people that knew who we are and what we’re doing. It was their first time up close and in person with our technology. And they just ate it up. Even the skeptics were impressed with our 350 combined HP and 700 foot-pounds of torque! When we started explaining our platform for the EcoCAR2 Malibu, instantly, they were able to relate to what is now mainstream technology in cars such as the Chevy Volt .It made us feel good to see people respond so well to what we do.” — Rachel Wheeler
There’s talk about joining the EPA again for next year’s race. But that’s not the only event the team attends. You can see them at events from the east coast to the west coast, from Detroit to the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Be sure to check the team’s website for more information and future dates near you.