The ups and downs of our year
As this school year draws closer and closer to an end, it is a natural point to look back and see what we have learnt before we go to London and the Shell Eco-marathon!
For us here at DNV GL Fuel Fighter it’s been a year of progress we have changed our main language from Norwegian to English to fully utilize the minds at our university, including our many and varied exchange students. Even if this has had its own challenges, ultimately we are a stronger team because of it.
We started out with a car that was built last year, but as you know never finished the race. So the entire year we have been improving it, to get it to a point where it will not only finish the competition, but excel at it! Before we start looking to the future, not only for July and the Shell Eco-marathon, but beyond that, let’s look back at some of our highs and lows and what we have learnt from these experiences.
Becoming a team
As we all know, for a large team to work well and achieve results, teamwork is vitally important. Even more so when you integrate people from several different fields and experiences, working on a diverse and challenging project.
To ensure good collaboration in the workshop and the office we have worked hard to get to know each other outside of it. Like Tanguy said in his video earlier this week, one of the things we did to bond as a team was to go on a cabin trip. Not long after that we had a party for the team and during the year we have made sure to do things together! This has resulted in many new friendships and we are now a tight knit group of people who all enjoy spending time together.
As a team we are comprised of different sub-groups, mechanical, electrical, marketing, design and R&D. So even if we do work together across fields as they are intertwined with each other, for the most part work happens somewhat separate, especially for R&D, Design and Marketing. As such we meet up every Sunday to explain what we have worked on during the last week and what our plans are for the coming weeks. This gives us not only an opportunity to see what everyone is up to, and what we have to do, but creating a natural meeting point to work across the sub-groups.
Working on the car
Our car, even if it was built and ‘working’ at the start of the year, has changed dramatically over the year. The car has undergone rigorous weight loss program and we have a developed a new motor controller, built rims, a door, foil and much more. We have changed and upgraded pretty much every part we could to make the car as good as it can be. In doing so many members have had to research and learn new techniques outside our regular subjects to make this happen. And hours upon hours have been spent on every part of the car, some of them in frustration because something just won’t, work even when it should, and many in joy and pride when we get it to work in the end. The finished parts of the car are a physical representation of all the work we have put in the car over the last 10 or so months and it is truly something we are all very proud of!
Testing is not only extremely important to make sure the car works and also something we did not have enough time to do the first year we built on the car. But it is also one of the things that have been filled with both positives and negatives. The car isn’t always behaving the way we want it to.. We can’t always make all the parts work together at the same time, and sometimes we just can’t get it off the line at all. But, and this is a big but, the times we get it working, when it works perfectly and we can see that it runs, we can even say it works well. Those times, those are the best, and we have gotten closer and closer to making it always work, not just most of the time!
Design and redesign
In addition to working on the current car, we have been working on the design of next years car, a process that isundertaken for the most part by our smallest sub-group R&D. The amount of designs they have gone through this year to make an even better car next year is unbelievable. Working on making the details perfect, and toeing the line between energy efficient and aesthetically pleasing is not a small undertaking, but in the end they did get there and the results look great.