Summing Up the Simulation Phase
|May 29, 2012||Posted by Kim.Tootle under Non Technical Post, Year Two Posts|
After a year’s worth of hard work and dedication, the MSU EcoCAR team sent 12 students and Faculty Advisor, Dr. Marshall Molen, to represent all of the work that was done since August. Our team really began working on EcoCAR 2, before EcoCAR 1 was even over. The time we spent on our proposal was an integral part of setting us up for success throughout Years One, Two, and Three of the competition. Year Two is described by the EcoCAR 2 competition as the building and integration year of the 3 year process. We just finished up the ‘Design and Simulation’ portion that Year One encompassed and, after visiting Los Angeles for the Year One competition, we faired pretty well with the initial design portion. However, it wasn’t an easy process getting to that point.
For an entire year, a group of 81 very dedicated students came together and worked tirelessly on everything from literature reviews to component scenarios. We studied every square inch of the various architecture designs we had to choose from before resting on a Parallel-Series Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle. From there, we had the responsibility of choosing which stock components should stay and which would be replaced; Furthermore, with what would these components be replaced and where in the vehicle would we place them?
The process for Year One is certainly a complex one, but balancing all of these questions and more is crucial in determining the success of our design. After deciding on not only architecture and components, we set out to run tests and simulations to determine how efficient and powerful our Malibu will probably be. You see, without even having the actual Malibu in our garage, we can come to a very robust understanding of how our Malibu will perform and under what parameters will it perform best. Beyond even these tasks lie more questions to be answered regarding vehicle weight, road clearance, and even the level of risk involved for each step of implementation. Every decision in this process links to another risk factor or cost-benefit analysis. For instance, choosing one engine over another may return more power, but it could very well be counteracted with the added weight it brings, or it may take up just enough space to squeeze out another crucial component. Every step we take has been with the utmost care and understanding that these are the steps that will lock us in for the next two years of competition. The decisions we’ve made this year carry a high burden of responsibility in the determination of our success in Years Two and Three of EcoCAR 2.
Coming into the competition the MSU team was 4th place overall, out of 15 universities across North America. With this in mind, we got straight to work on making our presentation delivery the highest priority for everyone. As Business Leader, Lee Pratt put it, “There really wasn’t any time to rest. Once one person finished a presentation, they started helped everyone else with theirs. It was great teamwork.” And that truly is how our first few days in L.A. went. We would practice our presentations in front of the team and Dr. Molen, and after receiving feedback, we would rework and restructure our delivery until it was time to practice once again. This is a method the MSU team has held in place for quite a while and we plan to continue with that process.
Presentation and delivery is a key part of the EcoCAR program. They understand how imperative it is for engineers and business people to not only perform well, but also have the ability of conveying that performance under time constraints. Even though the work we accomplished in Year 1 was necessary to our completion of EcoCAR 2, presenting all of that work in 25-30 minute windows of time was necessary in our success in EcoCAR 2. After a week in Los Angeles, the team ended up representing Mississippi State University very well bringing home 16 total trophies, including first place overall! If you’d like to learn more about the team or the competition, please refer to this press release or visit the EcoCAR 2 competition and their Flickr site for all the photos from LA. Go Bulldogs!