This one here is from when we went to pick up the trailer from the shippers. Captain Alejandro Arambula poses in the "high visibility" jackets we wear whenever we have the solar car out on public roads. Funny little anecdote: The team actually took a wrong turn at the airport and almost ended up on the tarmac with all the planes. Even though people frequently ask us if the "car can fly" .. we're not quite there yet.
This next one was when we first arrived at Hidden Valley. The World Solar Challenge draws a lot of media attention and we found ourselves the focus of several camera crews when we unloaded Chopper del Sol for the first time on Australian soil.
The electrical engineers [EEs] working on the array while it charges the battery pack. It is not uncommon to spot EEs crouched under solar car arrays, which provide about a Kilowatt of power to the vehicle (that's less than your typical hair dryer). The car then races 3000km at highway speeds, so ensuring that everything is working as efficiently as possible is absolutely crucial.
More EEs under arrays: Here Simon Calcutt, Alexander Hayman, and George Hansel work on programming the Maximum Power Point Trackers [MPPTs] - the electrical system on the car which allows us to draw the maximum power from the array by determining how much current should be drawn from a string of cells.
As you may remember from a previous blog post, one of the challenges the team has been facing is that our battery pack has been held in Singapore due to a mistake our shipper's part. Our EEs quickly put together the pack above, made from Golf Cart lead-acid batteries so that we could test-drive the car. After several hours of international phone calls, we have news that our battery pack should arrive late tonight.
Still despite not having our race pack, the car is driving great. Above is a picture of the car zooming by at around 47 mph (75 km/h). The car does look a bit bare as we have yet to add our brand new sponsor stickers to the car (it's on the to-do list for today). However, our sponsors are not forgotten: all our race and support vehicles have been decked out with brand new color stickers (and notice the back of Bruce's shirt, also sporting our sponsor logos).
Again a huge thank you to all our sponsors. This incredible project would not have been possible without you.
Above, Conan Hom times driver Lauren Chai as she practices getting in and out of the car. Drivers are required to get in and out from the car in less than 15 seconds. We passed this with flying colors - one of our drivers made it in 10 seconds.
Rachel, George, Kelly, and myself rocking our awesome MIT Solar Electric Vehicle Team t-shirts as we watch the proceedings on the track.
Team members attached the large "Solar Vehicle Ahead" sticker to the chase car. WSC regulations require all chase support vehicles to have this as we do drive on the Stuart highway alongside the general public.
Here are a couple pictures from scrutineering. Several teams are inspected at the same time, so it is a great opportunity to go check out other teams' cars. It's awesome to see the variety in designs:
Time to join the team for test driving. I'll add more pictures when I get the time. Keep checking back!