Daily Update 5/23/1999

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Previous Updates
Sunday, May 23 Waterbury, CT. - Technical Testing & Display

Well the day's events got an early start when at about 6:30 am, an NBC television crew arrived to report on the NESEA 1999 Tour de Sol. 

Despite the drizzle Team NJ was there to be the first to greet John Sablon, an NBC (Channel 30-CT) reporter.  Patrick Szary (Rutgers-CAIT) a Team NJ member presented the NJ Venturer vehicle  to Mr. Sablon, and within a very short time he decided that this was where he wanted to begin his live telecast. Team NJ then went live via a NBC satellite.

<Pending arrival of NBC Video>(Updated 5/27/1999)

Mike Strizki, (NJDOT) Team NJ's captain was interviewed for several minutes on live television, as about 20 team members looked on.  Mike explained that "the car is a hybrid fuel cell and battery powered vehicle", and then went on to describe exactly how the vehicle works. The impressive collection of hydrogen cylinders made of stainless steel fittings and tubes were then discussed, along with the 27 batteries that were installed in the lower portions of the vehicle.   Mike continued the interview by showing Mr. Sablon the motor controller, cooling system, and the heart of the NJ Venturer, the fuel cell stack.

We would like to thank NBC and their staff for giving our team the opportunity to showcase our vehicle.  We hope that interviews like this one will bring this technology to light, and make the public more aware of these new emerging technologies.  Team NJ feels that this type of system may be the vehicle of the future- a clean, zero emissions vehicle, capable of traveling similar distances as conventional automobiles.

Well as the afternoon quickly approached so did a rather wet day of events. With the rain now in a full downpour the NJ Venturer completed its technical testing.  It passed all required NESEA tests and certifications.

<Still pending final Technical Testing Scores from NESEA>(Updated 5/27/1999)

The rain may have dampened some of the information in our display booth, but it surely didn't dampen our spirits. John Musto (Rutgers-CAIT), John Stradford (NJBPU), Richard Pascual (Rutgers-CAIT), Kathleen Strizki (Hunterdon Central), Chris Rawlings (FIRST, Inc.), and Will Brenneman (BCC-NJIT) were the six Team NJ members who volunteered to assist NESEA in their activities. Kathleen Strizki (Hunterdon Central) said, "NESEA was really excited about us helping out with the set-up and testing during the events in Waterbury. I was assigned to help out during the cone safety test, which demonstrated the handling and braking requirements of the vehicle. It was quite interesting watching the cars trying to handle the turns as quickly and safely as they could." The remaining members of the team cleaned the vehicle, worked at our presentation booth, and worked on the On Board Diagnostics System (OBD). We had a very full day.  The rain gave our more seasoned HEV experts a chance to explain the systems and the process in detail to our newer members.  Everyone was able not only to participate but learn about the new technologies incorporated into the NJ Venturer.

Rowan University students were given the go ahead to complete the installation and integration of the On Board Diagnostics (OBD) System with the NJ Venturer systems.  When asked how they were doing, Justin Hargrave (Rowan) responded, " it is going very well, everything is going much quicker than we expected." When asked about the project overall, he responded, "we are happy at how smoothly it has been going and with all the help we have received. We have been working on this project for the past 4 or 5 months and we have learned a lot through this experience. Altogether, it has been a great experience participating in this event." This is great news for our drivers who will use the OBD system tomorrow during the tour to decide their driving strategies.  One might be wondering, what can anyone really do while driving the vehicle to adjust their strategies. Well the answer is simple, the NJ Venturer is a smart car.  With the OBD systems now fully integrated, the driver and co-pilot can optimize the vehicles performance via not only a gas pedal but also a laptop.  With virtual gages and access to almost every electrical system in the car the sky is the limit as to what can be changed.  Everything from the boost converter to the fuel cell stack to the hydrogen cylinders and even the batteries can "talk" to the drivers.  Good luck tomorrow drivers, and we hope that your strategies all work out.

After dinner there was a student meeting to organize for tomorrow.  With the technical testing now behind us the tour will actually begin.  Therefore, we needed to make sure that everyone is fully aware of our agenda for the following day's events.  

During the technical meeting in the evening, our strategies during the race were discussed. John Foster (H-Power Corp.) commented that, "this is quite exciting, now we will actually be driving the car on the highways and byways of our tour route, the REAL test of any vehicle."  With our fuel supply now topped off and the final checks performed on the Rowan University installed OBD system the car is 100% ready.

With the evening quickly coming to a close, a group of dedicated students from both Rutgers-CAIT and Rowan developed this daily briefing.   We hope that you will check back with the site tomorrow to follow along with the NESEA 1999 Tour de Sol.

Please send comments and suggestions to szary@civeng.rutgers.edu.