Meet an OSU EcoCAR 2 Student: Travis Trippel

Check out Ohio State Outreach Coordinator Sarah Jadwin’s interview with Travis Trippel, one of the engineering team leaders on the OSU team!

Name and Title on the team: Travis Trippel, Engine Team Leader

Year in school: Senior undergraduate, will graduate in June 2012

Major: B.S. Mechanical Engineering

How did you get involved in the EcoCAR 2 competition? I became involved in EcoCAR 2 because I had been a member of the EcoCAR 1 team since the beginning of my sophomore year. I originally found EcoCAR at the Fall Student Involvement Fair where I had an interest in getting involved in one of the automotive project teams: I felt that EcoCAR sounded the most unique and interesting. I’ve always been interested in alternative energy and had wanted to try out something automotive, so it felt like the perfect fit.

What are your main responsibilities on the team? My main responsibility is leading a senior capstone design project that is focused on our engine. We are working on improving the efficiency of our engine to achieve better fuel economy while maintaining our low emissions. In addition, I help our overall team leader, Katherine Bovee, develop the vehicle simulator that we use to predict our vehicle’s performance with regards to fuel economy, acceleration, etc. and develop the controls strategy for the vehicle.

What is your favorite EcoCAR memory? My favorite memory of EcoCAR was the Year Three Competition. It was great to be able to showcase our final product, which we had worked to develop for three years. It was very encouraging to see the positive reactions from the judges, as well as executives from General Motors, the U.S. Department of Energy and other government workers throughout the vehicle competition in Milford, MI and the ride-and-drive event in Washington D.C.

In addition, meeting G.M. North America President Mark Reuss at the Washington D.C. Auto Show in January was a great experience. Being able to talk with him and show him our car was very fulfilling because he had a full appreciation for the vehicle development process. The process we follow in the competition is nearly identical to that which GM and other major automotive manufacturers follow. Being able to communicate our efforts and thoughts to someone of his stature was an amazing opportunity for the team and was even more meaningful to myself since I will be starting my professional career with General Motors in June!