Want to get your hands dirty and build an electric vehicle?

The UW Hybrid Team will host its spring kick-off meeting this Friday, January 22, at 3:30 p.m. in 1106 Mechanical Engineering (3M Auditorium).

We are always looking for more help! Absolutely no experience is necessary and all skill levels are welcome. Being active in the team is a great way to meet new people while developing hands-on engineering and business skills that will set you apart from your peers.

The first step is to subscribe to our mailing list to stay up to date on meetings and events. If you can’t make the kick-off, our all-team meeting is held every Friday at 3:30pm in Tong Auditorium in Engineering Centers Building. We hope to see you there!

An Inside Look at Winter Workshop

Kevin Olikara and the team in the infield of the Daytona International Speedway
Kevin Olikara and the team in the infield of the Daytona International Speedway

After a long drive and five days in snowy Daytona Beach, Florida, the UW Hybrid Vehicle Team returns to Madison today not with a tan, but with knowledge to prepare them for the final judging in May.

Last Wednesday the team was invited to the Embry-Riddle EcoEagle Green Garage along with other universities using National Instruments components to develop the vehicle simulation model using Hardware in the Loop. National Instruments representatives were on hand to work with the teams to answer last minute questions.

Michael Sartin-Tarm, a sophomore Computer Engineering student said, “It was extremely helpful to the team and we’re glad Embry-Riddle invited us ahead of time.”That evening, all the universities attended a welcome dinner at the Daytona Lagoon for a night of fun with Go-karts and Laser Tag.

Thursday began the official workshop. The team presented its outreach events and communication plan for year two as well as its website for judging. Later that afternoon, the team drove into the infield of the Daytona International Speedway to watch a demonstration of how the vehicle’s emissions output will be measured and judged in the final competition in May. The tool attaches to the exhaust pipe and it measures the emissions leaving the vehicle, including NOx, CO2 and hydrocarbons. In the demo, GM engineers showed the team what needs to be left in stock vehicle condition so that the emissions equipment can be installed safely and properly.

The team learned how the emissions measuring equipment will work.
The team learned how the emissions measuring equipment will work.
That evening, EcoCAR organizers hosted a sponsor social for all the universities with a special presentation from Doug Fehan of Corvette Racing. He spoke about the American Le Mans Series and focused on teamwork through his successful race management career.

Drew Kosmoski, Mechanical Engineering senior said, “It was really interesting to listen to an enthusiastic speaker. He has been very successful and inspires our team to work hard toward our goals this spring.”

Friday, Team Leader Adam Richards and Graduate Research Assistant Chris Meyer presented the Hardware in the Loop (HIL) model to the judges. In the presentation, they showed that faults could be found within the electrical system and how the vehicle would respond through the controls strategy. By using HIL, it simplifies the controls work because debugging can be done before anything is installed in the vehicle.

Chris Meyer and Adam Richards present Hardware in the Loop.
Chris Meyer and Adam Richards present Hardware in the Loop.

That afternoon, the team learned what will be tested and what constitutes as a good score in the AVL drive quality event in May. To determine drive quality, sensors will be hooked up to the vehicle that measure pedal pressure and vehicle response. A good score would have a very predictable linear response with pedal position creating a smooth ride.

The team learns about the AVL Drive Quality event.
The team learns about the AVL Drive Quality event.

Saturday, the final day of the workshop, the team separated into two tracks–outreach and technical. The outreach sessions covered social media and utilizing the Clean Cities Coalition. The technical track talked about spring inspections, competition rules and logistics. It was an opportunity for teams to directly interact with GM and Argonne National Laboratory representatives to answer questions. A particular point of interest included the competition’s newest method of measuring fuel economy which will be done using a unique driving cycle.

The day concluded with team photos, a tour of the Daytona International Speedway museum, a barbeque dinner and speech from Faculty Advisor Glenn Bower on lessons learned in year two.

The team is now working to create the spring semester’s plan and deadlines in detail so that it can be best prepared for May. Check out the Picture Gallery here to see more of the trip to Daytona Beach!

Winter Workshop in Daytona Beach

Seven members of the team are currently in Daytona Beach, Florida attending the Winter Workshop. The trip got off to a bit of a rocky start when one of our vans died on us before leaving Madison but after we got a replacement, the drive was fine (long, but no problems to report).

Today the controls team is getting some help from National Instruments at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University to refine the HIL. So far they have been able to work some of the bugs out of the system and they will continue to work this afternoon to get it ready for tomorrow’s judging.

The next few days will include presentations, outreach and HIL judging, demonstrations, meeting the sponsors and a lot of fun activities. At the end of the workshop we’ll go home knowing more details about competition in the spring so we will be able to get our car all ready to go.

There are a few pictures of our tip in the Picture Gallery and there will be more soon so be sure to check them out!

UW Hybrid Team Shows Off New Paint Design at Quaker Steak and Lube

EcoCAR on display at Quaker Steak & Lube

Fresh out of the Kelly Moss Motorsports garage, UW Hybrid Vehicle Team revealed the EcoCAR’s brand new paint design to community members last Saturday at an event held at Quaker Steak and Lube in Middleton, Wisconsin. The team’s EV1 vehicle and the Bucky Wagon also came along for the ride.

Formally a generic shade of tan, the EcoCAR is now coated in red, white and black. The colors matched the shirts worn by a dozen team members at the event, creating a sea of Badger pride throughout the restaurant.

Kelly Moss Motorsports general manager Price Cobb, bodyshop manager Gary Kuehn and body shop staff worker Justin Beach dropped by to say hello and see the vehicle outside of the shop.

“I think it’s really cool that Kelly Moss is here,” says senior Mechanical Engineering student Stacey Ley. “They put a lot of their time and resources, free of charge, into this project and our team is very thankful to them for that.”

After three weeks and many hours at Kelly Moss Motorsports, the team is excited to have the EcoCAR back ready for work.

“The next step for us is to turn this rolling chassis into a fully functional hybrid electric vehicle,” says team leader and senior Electrical Engineering student Adam Richards. “There is a lot of work ahead of us, but we will be building on a great foundation.”

Richards says the entire team is excited about the way the vehicle turned out and is very proud to be able to showcase it at Quaker Steak and Lube.

Dan Grice talks to a community member about hybrid technology
Dan Grice talks to a community member about hybrid technology

Team members popped the hood and answered questions as many Quaker Steak and Lube lunch-goers stopped to ask about the EcoCAR.

“It went very well,” says Quaker Steak and Lube owner Scott Acker. “I am happy with the amount of people that came and were interested.”

Acker adds it’s great to get some new faces in the door, like a reporter from the Sustainable Times.

Controls team member and senior Electrical Engineering student Ray Uhen says he was very excited to show off the vehicle’s new paint and meet directly with people of all ages interested in the project.

“There were many little kids that wanted to know about all the knobs and do- hickeys,” he says. “And it’s great that their parents want to show them what types of things they can accomplish in college.”

Many people also asked questions about the automotive industry, according to Uhen.

“I was asked a lot of questions like ‘if we have this technology available, why is it not seen?’,” Uhen says. “I tell them that at this point, our research and development is not cost-effective for full production.”

Ray Uhen shows a family under the EcoCAR's hood
Ray Uhen shows a family under the EcoCAR's hood

Uhen’s favorite part of the event?

“The food was awesome,” he says. “You can never say no to wings!”