February Progress Update

Pink Skies with her twin chassis in the background

Pink Skies is slowly coming together; construction of the chassis is well underway. Currently, the car has all three wheels attached and is rolling! The motor is installed and the main chassis is complete. Kyle and I have spent many weekends and late nights getting the car to its current state.

Front-wheel components on the kitchen table 

First, I ordered all major components for the front wheels/steering and over the course of several days, Kyle and I assembled the front suspension and braking system.   

Entire front fork assembly with brakes mounted

While assembling the forks, Kyle and I worked on the chassis design in Siemens NX, a computer-aided design program. Kyle and I spent all of Thanksgiving break finalizing our chassis design and running simulations in ANSYS Workbench in order to ensure the chassis is strong enough to survive our adventure from New York to Los Angeles. Xometry, a sheet metal manufacturing company, cut and folded all of the aluminum monocoque parts for us. 

This saved us a significant amount of time and cost us a significant amount of money. 

The chassis was expected to arrive during winter break when Kyle and I could get lots of work done before school started again; due to some unforeseen delays, it didn't arrive until the day before school started for the semester.

The chassis upon first arriving in Okemos

Bulkheads prior to installation 

The first thing I did was install all five on the bulkheads (pictured above) into the frame. Unfortunately, Kyle was already back at school and unable to assist in the assembly. These bulkheads provide a lot of strength and prevent the chassis from flexing in an undesired manner. Each of these bulkheads requires about 50 rivets to be fully fastened into the chassis… a time-consuming and laborious process.

Chassis with all five bulkheads riveted into place 

After I riveted all five bulkheads into place, it was time to install the rear motor. Pink Skies uses a custom-built hub motor manufactured by QS motor in China. We designed the motor to perfectly match the expected loads Pink Skies will experience as it is driving across the country! Using a belt or chain drive results in a significant loss of energy; the hub motor design cuts this loss to zero.

Motor with tire installed and mounted onto chassis 

Once I mounted the motor, I installed the front suspension and wheels. Since Kyle was back at school, I had to enlist the help of my Dad to install the bulky front wheel/suspension carriage.

Car ready to roll 

Currently, the chassis is rolling! The steering and brake lines still need to be completed. Once that is done, we will start installing the electronics. As I am writing this, all major electrical components have been purchased and are on the way. In the next update, the motor should be spinning under its own power!


  1. Congratulations... this is such a cool project! Good luck on your journey, Will and Kyle!


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