The EcoEagles Emphasize Reliability

By EcoEagles team member Tyler Robbins

The EcoEagles have increased their efficiency exponentially this past semester throughout the internal cogs that make the EcoCAR 2 family thrive.  The business and communication teams are adapting within their own designated cogs as they continue working toward their team deliverables and the engineers got the vehicle running in all-electric mode and paired it with their working diesel engine.

They are now in the process of perfecting the control systems and many other small mechanical details that need attention before the car reaches the target of consumer-ready.  One small example is the welds needed to integrate the electric-mechanical fuel system efficiently.

The EcoEagles vehicle performing acceleration testing on the Embry-Riddle campus

The EcoEagles vehicle performing acceleration testing on the Embry-Riddle campus

Yuchi Meng, mechanical team lead, explains a current issue faced by the mechanical team, “After welding aluminum, it’s really hard to test for leaks.”  This pertains particularly to the vehicle in its testing state.  On the dynamometer, there are no real-time road vibrations; everything is perfectly smooth.  However, once variables are added, like potholes, a leak may occur somewhere.  The only way to know for sure is to perform real road tests.

“Reliability and maintainability are goals that the team has internally set for itself and that these two things could go a long ways to helping us win the competition,” said team leader Chester Rowe.

Emphaszing the EcoEagles’ overall attention to detail are the precautionary measures completed by the engineers who perform daily maintenance on the vehicle.  The engineers have been equipped with high-voltage safety training, offered by SAE.

The EcoEagles had a few minor setbacks coming into Year Three, putting them behind in the competition. Though, with a little bit of elbow grease—and a few all-nighters—the EcoEagles were able to soar alongside of the competition’s leaders.  In one semester, the EcoEagles have essentially completed tasks that should have taken them much longer to complete.  This can be attributed to the hard work exhibited by the entire team.

“This is a huge project that takes a huge commitment,” Chester claims.  And the holidays were no exception, being that several EcoEagles stayed around town for a majority of the previous winter break to complete their team objectives.  However, the EcoEagles team is back in town and gearing up for another great semester.