Every March, competition organizers from ANL and DOE travel to all 15 EcoCAR 2 universities to conduct a scored inspection. In Year One, this process is known as the Facilities Inspection. Competition organizers inspect every aspect of each team’s facilities, including safety-critical items such as a functioning vehicle hoist, appropriate fire extinguishers, and a high voltage work area, to determine if they are ready to receive their 2013 Chevrolet Malibu this summer.
In addition, teams are asked to create a documentation binder that includes Material Safety Declaration Sheets, quick references for all of the wiring and fusing they will be implementing into their vehicles, and any other safety procedures for their facilities. The inspection also includes a High Voltage Subsystem Demonstration, which tests teams’ knowledge of standard automotive high voltage practices such as wire and fuse sizing, crimping and shielding, and ground fault testing. These practices will prepare the teams for integrating their A123 Systems energy storage systems into their vehicles this coming year. Combined with preparing for the facilities inspection, this process ensures teams are ready to receive their competition vehicle and begin their modifications this summer.
Each year, one school is selected as the calibration school, which is used by the competition organizers to align their expectations of the inspection before each inspector heads off across the country to the other universities. All four inspectors traveled to Pennsylvania State University this year, and although the inspection took place before the rest of the schools, the veteran team did very well.
Check out the video below to learn more about the EcoCAR 2 Facility Inspections!