Cal State-LA’s “Clear” Idea

The last technical blog for Cal State-Los Angeles (CSULA) spoke about the team feeling the pressure of Year Three. The team was still brainstorming possible ideas for improvements for the EcoCAR. Fast forward to now, and you can see a strong CSULA team that has moved from the brainstorming stage to actually making all these ideas a reality.

One of the key accomplishments for CSULA is the transition of the Energy Storage System (ESS) containing the A123 Lithium Ion battery pack enclosed in an opaque black ABS plastic to a clear Lexan polycarbonate enclosure. Lexan is the same material used for making bulletproof bank windows, providing the requisite strength-to-weight ratio in a transparent form. LED strips were added to improve visibility for safety inspection. An additional benefit was the facilitation of ESS construction and assembly.

CSULA's Energy Storage Design with the old on the right and new on the left

CSULA’s Energy Storage Design with the old on the right and new on the left

Mechanical lead Yessenia Toscano weighs in on this innovative improvement: “It does help. It helps a lot for assembling. In addition, the combination of the LED’s and the clear Lexan helps the team verify busbar connectivity and to ensure that everything has been assembled correctly. It also helps to showcase the ESS during outreach events.”

CSULA is extremely excited about this idea and hopes to continue creating helpful knowledge to continue on the successful path for competition.