day Three of the American Solar Challenge!
Last night, we arrived at George Rogers Clark National Historic Site in Vincennes, IN. We were able to camp onsite, so we got to hang out with all of the other teams. This morning, we woke up to pouring rain. We unloaded our car and battery in the rain and set up a canopy over our car, under which we installed our battery into our car.
At 10:00 AM, it was time to leave on our second stage. We had lined up in order of our departure, and rolled out when the time came. Within a mile, we drove over the Lincoln Memorial Bridge, crossing into Illinois. From there, we have been following US-50 across Illinois towards Missouri.
Unfortunately, at 2:45 PM, we lost our first motor. At 2:58 PM, we lost our second, and stopped in Lebanon, IL to look into the issue. This has been a tough blow and we are working to repair the damage sustained by these failures. We are one of two teams competing at the American Solar Challenge to use motors we have designed and built ourselves and this is an occasional setback of creating a custom motor.
Eos is still 350 miles from the next stage stop and we intend to make our repairs tonight to complete the stage tomorrow. From there, we will be analyzing the power available and distance left to adapt our strategy.
Eos has the second generation of our Cruiser motors, and the first designed to drive a car this heavy. Today these motors failed. Aside from this competition, we were fortunate to make it 3,000km through the Australian Outback on these motors. Today, the weather or the wear may have finally gotten to them, or both. As we design the next generation, we will be looking at the failures these motors experienced to improve their reliability.
Ultimately, we know we will face setbacks like this when we design so many components ourselves. We believe these setbacks are worth the trouble of building custom components as these are the experiences that prepare us to become professional engineers. The finished product, a functioning car designed and built entirely by ourselves, gives us the feeling of success that led us into engineering in the first place. More importantly, however, the failures that keep us up at night, working on repairs, teach us the tenacity and grit required persevere through the tough challenges.
We would also like to thank McKendree University, here in Lebanon, IL. We talked to some of the members of the Lebanon community, and when they heard we were going to need a place to camp, the University immediately offered us the field adjacent to their football stadium for the night. It even comes with bathrooms! Shortly after McKendree helped us out, another neighbor bought us pizza and gatorades. Through the work of this evening, the Lebanon community has shown us true generosity.