After lots of communication with untraceable phone numbers and email addresses the moment was there, we were meeting with the Prime Ministers of the Netherlands (Mark Rutte), Belgium (Charles Michel) and Luxembourg (Xavier Bettel) during the Benelux Top to discuss the future of hydrogen. Positive note; implementing more hydrogen fuel stations in the Benelux is a high priority on their political agenda.
Meeting the Presidents
When we (Karsten Bakker, Gijs vermeij, Christophe Geuens and Simon Vermeijlen) arrived at “Het Catshuis” we did not really know what to expect. At the beginning all the police, personal drivers, press, event managers and people concerned with our “performance” were quite overwhelming. But after unloading our Forze VII we were getting comfortable and received an extensive briefing about our meeting. They urged us not to ask if the Prime Minister would like to take place behind the steering wheel of the Forze VII, a thing we really liked to do. But taking seat in the car could put the Prime Minister in a too awkward position with press around.
We provided the three Prime Ministers with a so-called energizing session in between their meeting and diner. In 15-20 minutes we were able to have a private talk with the three Prime Ministers surrounding our car. In this time we explained the vision, mission and functioning of our team and the advantages of fuel cell technology. Furthermore they were interested in us as students, our studies and setup of our project. They were smooth in their communication and made lots of politically correct jokes.
From pitlane to politics and back to the garage as we had to prepare and run another dyno test. We mainly tested our new water separator, which we improved to prevent water getting mixed into the air, needed to run the fuel cell. In addition we tried to eliminate the oscillations of our high side current to prevent damage in our systems and improve our power output.
Road services “help” Forze
In addition we had a visit of the first hydrogen powered road service car of the Netherlands (ANWB wegenwacht). Which started as a fun idea ended up in a hydrogen promotion video to show hydrogen is accessible nowadays and even familiar instances like the ANWB are putting fuel cell cars on the road. The video reached over a 100.000 people in 2 days and delivered some pretty enthusiastic reactions on all our social media platforms. It might even be that a fictional brand character of the team, called the stig’s hydrogen cousin also known as The Forze Driver, was created.
Behind the scenes:
Together with our main sponsor PitPoint we attended the Elfwegentocht company event. At the moment we are looking into public road racing projects to bring the car’s performances and the sustainable hydrogen mobility to the people. The Elfwegentocht is a two week long event in July, in which not a single drop of fossil fuel is used in the mobility sector of Friesland. This could be a great platform for Forze’s mission.
Jumbo Racing & Sinterklaas
Together with our main sponsor PitPoint we attended the Elfwegentocht company event. At the moment we are looking into public road racing projects to bring the car’s performances and the sustainable hydrogen mobility to the people. The Elfwegentocht is a two week long event in July in which not a single drop of fossil fuel is used in the mobility sector of Friesland. This could be a great platform for Forze’s mission.
Last we had some great contact with our partners during the sponsor drink in which we had every attended set a laptime in our new simulator. Our vehicle and aerodynamics department were happy to be invited by Dayvtech to make notes of the aero-package and suspension of the extremely cool but unfortunately not (yet) hydrogen fueled le Mains racer of the Jumbo racing team. Then they finished their day by joining the rest of the team to celebrate the good old saints birthday for Sinterklaas
By: Karsten Bakker
Planning & Progress
December has fallen upon us, meaning that we are now over 3 months into our year. December is also crucial in terms of the design process, as the designs of most of the larger projects have to be finalised in this month. It is therefore a good time to mirror the progress made against the initial planning.
A quick glance at the Gantt chart compiled in August shows that many projects take somewhat longer than expected. The two main reasons are that most things are new to our engineers and take time to master. Also, we simply cannot spend all the time we have on our own projects. Things like short term tasks, test days and other events take up time as well.
This does not mean that no progress has been made. On the contrary: many projects are far in their design phase. During the past month, several large projects have undergone review during the design presentations. These presentations allow current as well as previous board members to shed a light on the designs, and give feedback based on their own expertise. The meetings are usually held in the evening and often turn out to be very lengthy. But they also turn out to be crucial for the final design. The feedback our engineers get really helps them in the process. The meetings also serve as a deadline to have their design finished up to a certain point.
Examples of projects that have been under review lately are the subframe and the low voltage power system. Both projects are essential parts of the redesign of the car this year. A delay here would delay the entire assembly process.
Another big project in this respect is the redesign of the bodywork. Having finished the CAD model of the first design, our aerodynamics engineers have now started to analyse air flows around the model using CFD software. They will further iterate on the model in the coming weeks to optimise its aerodynamic properties.
As a Technical Manager, my role is to make the initial planning of all the projects we do, prioritise the different projects, keep track of all the progress, and adjust the planning when necessary. Making sure the projects are finished in time is my number one responsibility. This mainly involves discussing the progress with our engineers, see where time can be gained and where certain projects may have to be dropped. The ultimate goal of the year is to perform on the Gamma Racing Days, and eventually the projects that contribute most to this goal, should have the highest priority.
“Plans are nothing; planning is everything”
- Dwight D. Eisenhower
By: Thomas Barendse