Update from the Pits: Students Say

It’s Day 4  at the General Motors Desert Proving Grounds and the EcoCAR 3 teams are working hard on their vehicles.

We went to the garage to talk to the students about what their experiences are like at the Desert Proving Grounds and here is what a few of them said:

Haley Loftis, University of Alabama – I’m really excited to see our car running all the events and find out where we end up after all the work we have put in over the past 4 years. This year leading up to competition, our team ran a lot of tests to be prepared for any challenges with our vehicle. Since we’ve been here, things have gone smoothly, so we are looking forward to running all the events and finishing strong.

It’s hard to imagine what it’s like at the General Motors Desert Proving Ground until you get here, but it’s been incredible. Yuma is completely different than any other place in the country, and the facility is spectacular. We have enjoyed talking to the Proving Ground staff and seeing how testing is done in the real world. All the teams have been working toward the same goals for the four years, so there is a really collaborative feeling being here as well, and we are all rooting for each other. We have borrowed tools from other teams, and they’ve borrowed things from us. So it’s been very positive and we are looking forward to finishing together.

EcoCAR 3 Year 4 Competition

Calvin Qiu, California State University, LA – Just seeing where all the other vehicles are at is exciting. It’s been a full year of work on the vehicles, and I enjoy seeing how the team vehicles stack up against each other when it comes to performance. It’s interesting to see how the architectures that teams chose affect how they perform in the events.

The pace of competition is so intense, and the weather is really hot, but that is good because it really pushes our thermal system for testing. It’s also very competitive, but we are all friends. Teams go out of their way to help other schools. Most of us are engineers and we are all working to make a more fuel-efficient vehicle for the future, so competition is a bonding experience for everyone here.

EcoCAR 3 Year 4 Competition

(Happy Birthday to Calvin, who spent his birthday yesterday working on the vehicle with his teammates!)

Miandra Maiers, Mississippi State University – We are excited for our car to compete in and finish all the events. Since it’s a four year competition, it can be tricky if you get behind at any point. During last year’s competition we had a clutch failure and had to take out the entire powertrain and then put it back in. That resulted in damages to some of the parts, so over the summer we had to not only fix those, but refine the entire vehicle as well to meet the Year 4 requirements.

Being here at the GM Desert Proving Ground is really neat and we have been learning a lot from the staff as well as the other teams. We are of course cheering for our own team, but not against other teams. We enjoy working right alongside each other, and we are all focused on getting through all the events.

EcoCAR 3 Year 4 Competition