Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night

“You miss 100% of the shots you never take.”  I believe the great one Wayne Gretzky said that.  That quote has stuck with me since the inception of this project.  We took our shot. We put everything we had into it, and, in my eyes, we succeeded.  Are we walking away with one of those gaudy giant checks for $5M? No. However we did what many could  not or would not.  We had the best MPGe numbers out of ANY of the mainstream entries at Knockout.  That is fact. We  surpassed the competition’s requirements in a stage that we only had to reach 2/3 of the ultimate goal.  Think about that for a moment.  A group of 7 normal folks from mid America accomplished the base goal of an international $10M competition.  Our design was proven. Our aerodynamics work. Our weakness ended up being a standard OEM transmission, and we’re not even sure it was working properly when we smashed the 2/3 requirements for efficiency and range!  We can only imagine what our numbers would have been if we had a proper and reliable transmission.

That’s the dig. Imagine what we could have put on the track if we only had that one big sponsor. Save for that one mechanical twitch, I feel that we would have had the numbers to win the Progressive Insurance Automotive XPrize.  I am a naturally pessimistic person.  This project changed that for me.  As our  work moved forward, I grew confident. Every week we could see tangible progress to SEVEN.  We went from an “against all odds” team to a one in three  shot at taking the whole damn show.  Our entire budget, from the chalk we used to draw on the floor, to feeding the team every night, down to the travel and hotels for the events, and building the entire car was, I’m sure, less than some teams spent on a single component of their cars.

No excuses. No regrets. We did what we could with what little resources we had available.  We will finish SEVEN. We will improve on our already proven design.  We will fix what needs fixing, and we will exceed every requirement that we originally set out to meet.

In the event that there is no winner in the Mainstream Division, we are taking a preemptive approach to be ready in case XPrize should decide to invite the Mainstream teams back for another shot.

You have not heard the last of Illuminati Motor Works. You have not seen the last of SEVEN.

Audere Est Facere!     We did.


4 Responses

  1. The “7” team is my mainstream class favorite. Electrics are the future. Batteries are improving rapidly, and electric motors are ideal for powering autos.

    I would hate to see a noisy, balky, low torque, CO2 spewing infernal combustion engine win the X prize by default, no matter how good the rest of that car might be.

    The contest becomes meaningless when only one team enters the final round. X prize rules should be adjusted to allow for repairs, since many cars are prototypes. After all, this should be a contest of high mileage designs, not a contest for the most mechanically perfect prototype. If the 7 team could have built and entered four or five cars with custom engineered motors and transmissions, their battery electric design would still be in the mainstream race.

    Electric motors evidently put heavy demands on transmissions. Tesla had big problems with their first transmissions. Taking a cue from solar racers, wheel hub motors might be the best solution for electric cars. These motors eliminate transmission energy losses and mechanical failures.

    Some solar racer hub motors are 98% efficient. One small hub motor can take a solar racer to over 60 mph on just 1500 watts of solar power.

    Two or four hub motors powering an extra light weight four passenger “7” would be perfect for the mainstream class.

  2. This is another “at the mine we did” story. At the mine, there was a metal flighted conveyor that hauled refuse out of a water cleaning tank that was constructed like one of those tidal wave pools at Knight’s Recreation and others. The flights and chain would last a short enough time to be a real pain in the ass. Cryogenic treatment doubled the life by decreasing dimensional wear. I think that this outfit in Decatur was used.

  3. At the site for the cryogenics is an article from Coal Age magazine about Monterey’s experience with cryogenic treatment of parts.

    I mention because of a busted transmission. Linkage or shifting fork or whatever. The cryogenic brought to mind that the gears and such in a transmission might be kept small if they could be stronger thru the treatment. A big IF of course. I have no idea of tensile strength effects from the treatment.

  4. You keep pushing 7. You have the right design and the right components, just not the right budget. The true pursuit is efficiency of the whole design and marketability and not who can build the best hot rod. You are on the right track so keep trying. You never know what the future will bring.

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