So, I’m part of an electric car team, and we’ve raced at the Connecticut Electrathon since last spring. Instead of using the car we made from a crappy kit last year (it cost about $1,500 and NOTHING fit, almost everything had to be modified), the “Varsity” team I’m on is going to build a new car from scratch. We’ve got a working design for everything, and it should turn out awesomely - the problem is, it is estimated to cost about $5,000. 

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Girl look at that body. I WORK OUT. 

So on Friday after school, two of the guys from the Varsity team and I went to Ingelheim Automotive in Danbury CT, asking for a sponsorship. 

And guess what - we got one. 

To be precise, a $3,000 sponsorship. 

This is enough money to make the chassis, as well as all the mechanical bits (motor, braking system, wheels, etc.)

So FUCK YES. We’re going to order what we need on our next meeting on Tuesday, and hopefully start working on cutting the aluminum for the chassis in a few weeks! 

We were expecting a $100 sponsorship or something, not $3,000. THANK YOU INGELHEIM AUTOMOTIVE!

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Yesterday, I saw the future…of car racing. #goofyfun

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Test driving the new car for the first time.  Brakes fail at the end of the video but no damage fortunately and easily fixed with improved clamp design in the brake balance bok

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(TOP: USF Engineering Advising, Kate Johnson; Krysta Banke Academic Advisor USF Engineering Student Services; H.C.C. Engineering Society President Nick Tumi)

Kate Johnson was helpful in reminding the Society, that at the USF Engineering Expo, that there would a large majority of K-12 schools at the Expo.  I added Einstein sticking out his tongue to one of our displays, because it is a fun picture you never forget (Special Thanks to Professor V. B. Smocovitis-History of Science-UF). One among other tweaks.

NOTE: I personally have only very recently joined the Society. Much credit goes to Nick, Chris, and several others who have put a great deal of sweat into the Electric car- electrathon.

The first road test was passed on the gravel around the sheds.  The ground clearance didn’t suit the gravel, but it was enough to demonstrate everything is working as designed.  

A test on the concrete floor of the shed proved that the steering geometry was working well after being adjusted to increase the ackerman angle after there was some scrubbing with the first attempt.

The car body has now had a coat of primer and is ready for its first real test on the skid pan at the RAC driver training centre in Perth later this month.

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River Raiders Win

Rod, Jamie and Wayne win the open (C class) race and Yuassa class in Roadbot 3 to take the 2012 ITC Global EV Challenge trophy.  

Roadbot 3 was consistently the fastest car on the track, even lapping it’s stablemate Roadbot 4.  Roadbot 3 had a big efficiency advantage over the 4 wheel car so we could travel a lot faster for the average 10 amp power we were targeting.  In the end Roadbot 3 had used only about 80% of its battery capacity, so we could have pushed a lot harder.

Does this prove 4 wheel cars are less efficient than 3 wheel cars?  While the cars had identical bodies, batteries, motor and controllers, we feel that there were some drive train losses in the Roadbot 4 that could be eliminated and we could increase the efficiency to get a lot closer to Roadbot 3, although with the extra wind and tyre drag of the fourth wheel and the extra weight of the fourth wheel, axels and diff, it will never be as efficient.  On a tight circuit the improved handling cornering might be able to make up for reduced efficiency, but for efficiency races, the question is….  ”Confirmed”

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The whole team got together on the weekend to lay up the fibreglass moulds of for the new body.  The fibreglass work was led by Jamie and it was great to learn techniques, tips and info that made the process successful.  Of note was Jamies attention to detail including thick and even gel coat, filleting edges and ensuring no bubbles were present in the layup and always ensure the mix is well stirred.  And yes, fibreglass is toxic stuff, smelly, itchy and burns your skin, but amazing how it can create just about any shape that you can imagine.

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Adding a head and wheel shroud and some final sanding will bring the plug close to completion.  

The body shape is based on the profile of the driver in a lay back seating position.  The lay back position minimises the frontal area and the shape is based on an aerodynamic “cloak” over the driver.  The top part of the body is deliberately wider than the bottom allowing extra width to accommodate the drivers shoulders and arms.

Rolling rolling rolling

Not too much more to get a rolling chassis so we can test the layout, driving position and balance. The next challenge and probably the most time consuming is converting the sketches and models of the body into the real deal. We have talked about using fiberglass, blow molded polycarbonate, vacuum formed plastic and a couple of other ideas. Anyway the first step is a solid full size plug or body form. Needs to be something readily formable and fairly sturdy. I have my eye on an old log that should be big enough. Might have to take to it with a chainsaw.

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