Motorsport team to unveil ‘Odyssey’ before maiden voyage

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Joshua Chavana, mechanical engineering sophomore and SAC Motorsport team manager, discusses a plan to cut off the top of the “Odyssey” and install a clear acrylic plastic panel for the driver to enter and exit the hydrogen fuel cell powered vehicle March 19 in the MESA center. An unveiling for the vehicle is March 28 at the Victory Center. The SAC Motorsport team is attending the Shell Eco-marathon Americas Competition is April 2-7 in Sonama Calif. James Russell

An art student painted the three-wheeled vehicle to honor the moon landing.

By Rogelio Escamilla

The Motorsport Team will host an unveiling ceremony of their new prototype vehicle named Odyssey at 5:30 p.m. March 28 in the Victory Center lobby.

This is ahead of their participation in the Shell Eco-marathon Americas competition April 2-7 in Sonoma, Calif.

Biology preprofessional sophomore Madison Soto taps a screw into a spindle system for the steering wheel of the vehicle ‘Odyssey’ with the aid of academic lab tech Benajamin Uresti in the MESA center March 19.  James Russell

The competition is broken down into three energy categories: internal combustion, battery electric and hydrogen fuel cell; and three vehicle classes: urbanconcept, Autonomous urbanconcept and prototype.

The three-wheeled Odyssey is categorized as a prototype hydrogen fuel cell vehicle.

The competition also includes on- and off-track contests.

The team will compete in the on-track competition, which tracks the vehicle’s performance and fuel efficiency through a series of tests, and two off-track competitions, design and communication.

Before the on-track competition, the vehicle will participate in a 10-point inspection of necessary safety requirements, including mirrors, seatbelts, steering brakes, and the ability of the driver to escape the vehicle within 10 seconds.

A team can only sign up for two of the six off-track competitions.

The design competition considers the vehicle’s aesthetics, ergonomics, technical feasibility, material choice and eco-friendliness.

Joshua Chavana, mechanical engineering sophomore and team manager, said communication design sophomore David Soto painted the vehicle’s shell with a space theme to honor the 50th anniversary of the first manned moon landing.

“My instructor, Alfonso Cantu, pitched to me the idea that Josh and Motorsport was doing,” Soto said. “Josh asked if I can do a space theme and if I can include the astronaut on the back. After talking with Josh, I decided to do it. We wanted to do more of an outer space theme, not with a rocket ship or anything like that.”

Soto said the entire painting process took 3-4 days during spring break.

Gerarado Silva, electrical engineering sophomore and electircal team member, sodders together wires for the horn of the ‘Odyssey’ March 19 in the MESA center. James Russell

“I went to my mentor to borrow the right airbrush equipment,” Soto said. “He helped me smooth it out, added a little more touches here and there. He also showed me how to do some things.”

His mentor is Jose Guajardo, a local artist.

Soto said he’s been drawing since he was 6 years old, painting for five years and has been spray-painting and airbrushing for about a month.

The communication competition will be awarded to the team that, according to the official rules, “demonstrates best the communicatory and promotional activities on the road to the competition.”

This includes the creation of a communication campaign that takes advantage of various media platforms, like social media, to promote the competition.

The team is working with several sponsors to lower the cost of the vehicle.

One sponsor, Flipsky, provided the vehicle’s motor controller to the team for free, in exchange for the placement of sponsor stickers on the vehicle.

The motor controller will analyze the motor’s performance in real time. The team will modify the part’s casing to make the circuitry visible to viewers.

Other sponsors the team is working with are Catrike, who provided free bearing caps; ATO, who provided 25 percent off a main and backup motor; and Skylights Over Texas, who provided the oven used to cure the resin coating of the vehicle’s carbon fiber shell.

Mechanical engineering sophomore Chris Johnson strips and cuts wires for the horn of the hydrogen fuel cell powered vehicle “Odyssey” at the MESA center March 19. James Russell

The team also worked with Thomas Jefferson High School, who allowed the team to use the school’s band pad for operational testing, and Southwest High School, who allowed the team to use their painting room to apply a clear coating to the shell.

The team will include these sponsors in a final report, as well as other community interactions.

The prize for winning the Hydrogen Fuel Cell on-track award is $3,000, a trophy and on-stage ceremony. The money decreases in amount the lower a team places.

The prize for winning both off-track awards is $3,000 individually.

The Ranger is sending a reporter and photographer to cover the competition.


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