When Bryan Jungers first showed interest in Challenge X at the University of California-Davis, he had never heard of hybrids before, but today he works as Manager of Research at E Source, focusing heavily on electric vehicles.
E Source helps utilities and major energy users solve problems involving energy efficiency, program design, sustainability and more. Jungers’ experience with Challenge X was an important first foray into the sustainable technologies that are now part of his daily life.
He recalls helping to integrate the battery packs into the UC Davis vehicle, which was challenging because hybrid technologies were still relatively new at the time. Ensuring the safety of the vehicle with a large battery pack was an added challenge that today’s engineers don’t have to worry as much about.
Beyond gaining real-world experience, Jungers also became a “rockstar in networking.” He says Challenge X gave him a reach in the professional world he never would have experienced otherwise. Jungers also attributes experiences during internships to his current success. He worked as a student intern at the California Energy Commission and helped write a contract for the Plug-In Hybrid and Electric Vehicle Research Center currently in place at UC Davis.
Further, Jungers helped with the systems architecture for the Vehicle Design Summit at MIT. Over the course of several months, he coordinated with team leaders from Europe, Africa, India and China to specify powertrain engine characteristics, such as the size of the engine and performance specifications.
While Jungers has made many strides since Challenge X, he encourages future competitors to learn from their mistakes during competition.
“I saw a lot of students come in and work on the project, but if they had a problem, they would just quit,” he says. “It’s about going out there and learning from those mistakes because you learn a lot more from the problems than the successes.”