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It was sweet victory last night for two EcoCAR teams. But we’re not talking green vehicles. Texas Tech and University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) students won first place at F1 Racing Boston, a speed-filled team outing to mark the halfway point of the Fall Workshop.

 

Gavin Clark, Team Leader for UOIT takes his F1 Racing trophy

 

One thing was evident at the end of the night: don’t mess with Texas Tech. Team member Kevin Kappes won first place on Track One at F1 Racing. With a best lap time of 16.33 seconds, Kevin beat out seven other students during the final race, including two outreach coordinators. Wisconsin’s outreach coordinator Andrea Sotirin put up some tough competition though, leading throughout most of the race and finishing third overall.

Gavin Clark of UOIT raced to the top on Track Two with a best lap time of 20.67 seconds and average speed of 40.7mph. He faced some tough competitors and finished only 1.9 seconds ahead of the second place winner. But perhaps the sweetest victory was from General Motors sponsor Ed Argalas who won first place during the sponsor/organizer race. Ed beat out more than 35 sponsors to get the fastest time in the sponsor finals of 20.8 seconds.

As their quest for alternatively energized cars continues, multiple high school and college alternative energy teams unite in the commuter parking lot of Texas Tech University.

A very cool Solar Car Challenge vehicle

During the trek from Dallas, Texas, to Boulder, Colorado, the Hunt-Winston School Solar Car Challenge team stopped at Texas Tech University to demonstrate how their vehicles utilized the relentless energy of the west Texas sun to power their way along the road. At the event, the Texas Tech EcoCAR team members shared their knowledge about alternative fuels with the public and the solar car teams.

Although the sun is a great energy source, the task of efficiently collecting that energy remains difficult. For now, the reality is that the most viable energy source for vehicle transportation is still liquid-based fuels. As stated by a representative from the Choctaw Central High School Team, “The max speed recorded (for the solar cars) is 60 mph… while the average is only around 50.” This leads us to conclude that even though the solar car program is rapidly developing, challenges like EcoCAR are necessary to speed up the process of making vehicles more fuel efficient and environmentally clean.

Soaking up the sun!

This week’s Mentor Monday post features Kevin Storch, a member of GM’s Advanced Powertrain Controls group and Texas Tech‘s new mentor. Kevin got his first taste of Advanced Vehicle Technology Competitions (AVTC) as a student at the University of Michigan where he participated in the FutureCar program. He currently works at GM on Wide-Range Air-Fuel sensor algorithm development projects. Kevin is excited to be involved in AVTCs again and to be Texas Tech’s EcoCAR mentor! 

Earlier this month, Kevin visited Lubbock and Texas Tech’s Advanced Vehicle Engineering Lab. The team’s leads gave Kevin an overview of their hard work from a mechanical, controls, electrical, and outreach perspective. Kevin was then given a tour of the engineering buildings and the controls lead gave a demonstration on the Hardware-in-the-Loop testing. Kevin also had the opportunity to check out the Texas Tech Challenge X vehicle because it was on campus to help celebrate Whitacre College of Engineering E-Week.

Half way through the day, the Texas Tech team and advisors came together for lunch with their new GM mentor. After lunch, Kevin toured the Advanced Vehicle Engineering Lab where the team works on their EcoCAR vehicle. He also got to sit in on a weekly meeting to see how the team functions. 

Texas Tech was excited to get to know Kevin and is looking forward to working with him in the future!

The Texas Tech EcoCAR team with GM mentor, Kevin Storch

It is hard to believe that it snowed in Daytona Beach this weekend, but the Winter Workshop was a great success nonetheless.

Below, the teams shared a few highlights with the Inside the Green Garage blog:

Not only did the University of Waterloo Alternative Fuels Team (UWAFT) win first place for best technical poster, their most memorable moment came at the Daytona 500 Experience.  One of UWAFT’s outreach coordinators, Eric Mallia, managed to successfully operate the air wrench to execute a full-speed NASCAR pit-stop in 16 seconds!  

UWAFT's Eric Mallia at the NASCAR pit-stop

The Missouri S&T team was thrilled to be able to watch the Le Mans Racing Series time trails from the infield stands of the Daytona 500 race track. The team was excited to see and hear the race cars as they drove around the track and they were close enough to see the red light on the tachometer as the drivers were shifting!

The Ohio State team took home third place in the technical poster competition, ending their week on a high note!  The poster represented the vehicle architecture and simulations that were used to develop the team’s Hardware in the Loop (HIL) designs. Ohio State enjoyed taking a break from working on their car to spend time with the other teams and remember the work they’re doing to advance green technology.

The Texas Tech team on their way home from Daytona!

There was a fog hovering over the parking lot on October 5th. Standing in the cold damp air, students, including team leader Carl Gabriel, waited for the arrival of the GM-donated vehicle: the reward from months of labor. The delivery truck pulled into the parking lot and the driver slowly opened the back of the truck and unloaded the vehicle. After a quick test drive around the building, the vehicle came to rest in what will be its new home for the next two years: Bay 9.

However, the GM vehicle didn’t stay too long in its new home. A mere 5 days after delivery, the vehicle was driven in the Texas Tech University Organizational Homecoming Parade. The following week, tours of the facility were given to students from the South Plains Academy and Coleman ISD, ending with a press conference on the 16th. The press conference was attended by faculty and staff from the University and news crews from KAMC and KLBK, two prominent Lubbock TV stations. The media and public outreach blitz ended this past Tuesday with a booth at the South Plains Tech Prep Career Expo http://www.southplainscollege.edu/techprep/. With public interest piqued, the vehicle is back in Bay 9, and the real work can begin.

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