Team-Fate: UC Davis Plug-in Hybrid Electric Research Group

My friend had suggested I should start posting a list of projects that I have done. Another friend also suggested that I should post all the cars I’ve owned, but that’s for another post.

I will try and do this in a sort of chronological fashion. Here’s the first, as far as I can remember: Team-Fate, and Trinity, a plug-in hybrid converted 2005 Chevy Equinox, done by the students at UC Davis.

Coming from high school I was pretty accustomed to spending my after school hours participating on extra-curricular activities. In high school my main focus was the Woodside/Carlmont FIRST Robotics Team (Team 100). The value of what I’ve learned while participating on this particular FIRST Robotics team is too much to describe. There has been no single class in high school that has taught me more than my time spent being on Team 100. While I didn’t realize it at the time, I had learned more than just how to design and build a robot, I had also learned how to work as a team and with teammates, as well as various leadership responsibilities and interpersonal communication skills. It may sound like I am just speaking of dreams; yes there were some bad times, but nothing terrible, and they all served to be a learning experience, and in the end all the good times overshadowed the bad ones.

Before I even started classes at UC Davis, I had found a number of extra curricular activities, more specifically, student design teams. While touring the campus during my summer break, I came across the engineering fabrication lab (Bainer 1228). I saw a bunch of cars, and there was actually a team meeting going on and I just stared through the window. A person invited me inside, who I later found out was the team captain. I also was greeted by another individual who I found to be sort of… weird. Eventually this person became one of my good friends.

My involvement on this team lasted about 2 years, and in those two years I learned a lot. It was a very humbling experience in some ways. I felt that I had a lot of mechanical know-how, coming from a robotics team in high school, but that notion was quickly dispelled after spending much time on the team. I didn’t quite pick up a single big project for myself when I was on the team, which was plenty fine since I was busy enough trying to learn all sorts of stuff. As far as I can remember I did some work on the exhaust, some work on that monster rear sub-frame, made of 1/4″ steel, various wiring jobs (like fuel pump relocation and routing), lots of work on the brakes (changed just about every component) and the vacuum brake assist, and all sorts of various jobs you would assign to freshman (thank god I didn’t have to sort drill bits).

Unfortunately I did not document this era of my projects very well, I had too many things on my plate and not enough focus at the time. Like most extracurricular projects, the time it consumed caused my class grades to suffer, which was one of the reasons why I decided to put a pause on non-class related activities and focus on my classwork. That and Dr. Frank went on to start his own company, thus ended UC Davis’ decades long streak of building prototype plug-in hybrids.

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2 Responses to Team-Fate: UC Davis Plug-in Hybrid Electric Research Group

  1. Alex Chiang says:

    Hi, I’m working at the Communication and Marketing department at the College of Engineering at UCD. We’re thinking about doing a piece about the plug-in hybrid program at Davis, and were wondering if you’d be willing to talk about your experiences as a part of the team. If you could reply by e-mail to me, that’d be fantastic.

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