I am an electronics student and the powertrain lead for the X Prize team. That there sums up the opportunities this team has to offer. I know nothing about vehicle aerodynamics, on road performance, or carbon fiber. I drive an old jeep wrangler. The city bus has a better ride and out runs me in the quarter mile. I use two tools for my jeep, hammer and sawzaw, neither of which are good for carbon fiber.
When I joined the team, it became apparent rather quickly that I was going to be working with the hybrid system. The Vehicle Design students only have a basic knowledge of electronics to work on current vehicles. At least in my major I get to blow up a few components and possibly shock myself before I go out into the field.
There are many great attributes to the X Prize team. One is the experience. I am part of an international competition to build a realizable 100 mile per gallon vehicle. Not only does it have to meet all Department of Transportation standards, it have to marketable with a successful business plan. I have to communicate with multiple team leads, the student workers, the general public, and eventually competition judges. And this paragraph is what everyone on the team gets to say at their post graduate interview.
One of the greatest facts is who we are in this competition. When it is looked at, we are just some college in the northwest with student workers. We are not some multimillion dollar company with experienced professional engineers being paid to build this. When we are out promoting the team and get asked “How do you feel about your chances in the competition?” The answer is: we are feeling great.