Pre-competition safety inspection successful for Hybrid Warriors

ecocar_inspection1In the heart of the Motor City, the Hybrid Warriors welcomed Argonne National Laboratories’ Trevor Crain. Crain is one of the competition organizers who visits the 16 participating universities and performs inspections. On March 9, Wayne State University student engineers reviewed the pre-safety inspections with Crain and received feedback of the components that will be checked May 13 through 21 during the final competition in Milford, Mich.

“The pre-safety check lets us understand what areas of the vehicle require extra work,” Controls Lead Miriam Di Russo said. “It is an important milestone for the teams.”

The inspections conducted by Crain covered three major categories of the vehicle: mechanical, electrical, and controls. Each area was evaluated using a scorecard given to the team in advance.

“The inspections started with the mechanical part, where all the items related to the Powertrain component integrations were examined,” Di Russo said. “This included the routing of the cooling system, the exhaust system, and the critical fasteners.”

ecocar_inspection2The conclusion of the mechanical inspection was beneficial for the Hybrid Warriors, as the pre-safety checks allowed the team to reevaluate specific vehicular components, including the cooling system. Di Russo said the team would focus on re-routing some of the cooling lines to avoid contacts with hot spots in the vehicle and fixing leaks in the exhaust system.

The electrical aspect of the inspection tests all the high and low voltage connections, including isolation and connections that ensure the emergency disconnect switches work properly. According to Di Russo, these tests ensure that the vehicle confirms to the competition safety standard and no hazards are present.

The final part of the safety inspection focused on the control development. Throughout this phase, Crain reviewed the vehicle’s main functionalities.

“The inspector checked the Powertrain torque delivery under the various operating mode and the competition required switches and indicator lights,” Di Russo said. “The team performed a wheels spinning on hoist under pure electric mode as well as the engine start.”

Though the team earned high marks on their pre-competition safety check scorecard, the Hybrid Warriors have components to modify for the final completion in May.

“Before being able to compete in any dynamic event, the safety inspections are the first challenge that every team will face in final competition,” Di Russo said. “This experience has been extremely helpful to identify areas that need work and optimization as well as getting a different perspective on the work completed so far from the other side of the competition.”

Contact: Kim Gallagher, WSU EcoCAR3 Communications Manager