Through participation in the Eco-marathon, students learn how to approach open-ended design tasks and project planning, while integrating research, simulation, design and testing to create a new product. Having participated in the Shell Eco-marathon for a few years now, the U of A EcoCar Team also adds problem solving to their learnings from this hands-on process.
“As a team that’s been around for about five years, we are currently in a critical growth phase. We are in-between teams that are brand new and made up of a tight-knit group of friends, and well-established teams with huge budgets, a long legacy, and a well-known reputation,” begins Balazs Gyenes, Project Manager for the U of A EcoCar Team.
“As a result, we have been working as much on building a great team as on building a great car. Concurrently, we are improving communication, documentation, knowledge transfer, and all the other systems that are critical to keep the team operating.”
Through trial and tribulation, this motivated team says they realized the importance of recruiting, both for their team and for the financial support of their car, and decided to implement a unique recruiting program.
“We held a competitive, team building/training event called Ecolympics that was the first of its kind at our university,” says Gyenes. “We’ve begun to try to build partnerships with large firms and critical suppliers, such as car companies and local machine shops, which will support our team in the future.”