Vehicles and Students Arrive at EPA for the 2011 Spring Workshop

After weeks of preparation for the EcoCAR Year Three Spring Workshop, teams began to arrive at the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) National Vehicle and Fuel Emissions Laboratory ready to pass safety tech inspections and begin dynamometer and emissions testing on their vehicles.

Vehicles staged in the inside pit area

Vehicles staged in the inside pit area

The Spring Workshop is unique, in that the EcoCAR teams are divided into two groups for vehicle testing. Group A, which consists of Georgia Tech, Mississippi State,  Michigan Tech, Ohio State, Penn State, Texas Tech, University of Waterloo, and Virginia Tech, will take part in the inspections and dynamometer testing during the first week of the workshop.

Group B will arrive later this week and start their safety inspections and vehicle testing during the second half of the Spring Workshop. Group B consists of Embry-Riddle , Missouri S&T, North Carolina State, Rose-Hulman, University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT), University of Victoria, University of Wisconsin, and West Virginia University.

Starting last Friday, March 4, organizers and EPA staff helped unload the Group A vehicles off of the transport trailers and into the pit area to begin safety tech inspections.

University of Waterloo vehicle being unloaded off of the transport trailer

University of Waterloo vehicle being unloaded off of the transport trailer

As of Monday, four teams passed their full safety tech inspection on the first day, including Virginia Tech, Penn State, Ohio State and Mississippi State.

Penn State's vehicle preps for safety tech inspections

Penn State's vehicle preps for safety tech inspections

“Building off of what we did last year at the safety tech inspections at Year Two Finals, we were better prepared for what we needed to get done to pass this time,” said Eric Schacht, team leader for Ohio State University.

Ohio State talks to Bruce Willis, GM, and Danny Bocci, Argonne National Lab, about their safety tech inspection

Virginia Tech, who was the first team to pass safety tech, was pleased that they were also the first team to start dynamometer testing.

“It’s been a great experience so far,” said Virginia Tech team member, Andrew Karpin. “We really appreciate EPA and other sponsors for letting us have a viable option to improve our vehicle by doing  dyno testing. It will help our team out immensely come Final Competition.”

As the rest of the teams pass safety tech inspections, they will begin implementing their test plans on one of EPA’s dynamometers.

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