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Purdue Electric Racing

Purdue University

  • Team and Goals

  • Harwin Involvement

  • 2017 Status

Purdue Electric Racing (PER) is a student racing team taking part in the Formula Student series.

Formula Student

The concept behind Formula SAE is that a fictional manufacturing company has contracted a design team to develop a small Formula-style race car. The prototype race car is to be evaluated for its potential as a production item. The target marketing group for the race car is the non-professional weekend autocross racer. Each student team designs, builds and tests a prototype based on a series of rules whose purpose is both to ensure onsite event operations and promote clever problem solving.

Mission Statement:

  • To push the limits of electric vehicle technology and design
  • Develop technical and teamwork skills through practical experience
  • Raise awareness about electric vehicle technology and its capabilities


Education: First and foremost, the team’s goal is to provide a specialized learning environment that goes above and beyond typical classroom instruction. With such a high turnover rate of members, it is critical to have an effective education program as well as maintaining a consistently updated knowledge base to be passed from year to year. Holding small workshops and seminars for new members will allow them to immediately begin contributing to the team in a positive and effective manner.

Teamwork: Bringing such a wide variety of experience together has inherent challenges, so it is critical to create an environment that promotes a cohesive team atmosphere. Developing the skills and habits that will prove essential in professional roles will be a significant part of the team’s learning process. By creating a clear team structure and excelling at communication, an optimum balance between education, work, and a bit of fun can be achieved.

Innovation: The flexibility and freedom provided by the nature of the competition allows students immense freedom in their designs. Even so, the necessity of simple and elegant solutions often proves even more challenging and beneficial than adding complexity. It is important for us as engineers to focus on developing solutions that are innovative not only in terms of performance, but also in efficiency and environmental impact.

Team updates can be found on the PER Facebook page.

Harwin has sponsored the team from Purdue before, and previous cars have used parts from Harwin’s range of Surface Mount hardware solutions that address a range of industry challenges – EMC, cable management, test – in an innovative way which saves production costs and increases reliability. For the 2016/2017 year, the PER team identified reliability as a key competitive edge, so have been evaluating Harwin’s hi-rel connectors, such as the company’s 2mm pitch Datamate series, the 1.25mm Gecko family and the M300 high density power connectors that can handle currents up to 10A.

Comments Jessica Engel, Marketing Manager North America, “We sponsor a number of student projects around the world. Motorsport is a very challenging environment for electrical connection, because of the shock and vibration and sometimes temperatures that connectors must survive. We are delighted to continue our sponsorship of the Purdue team through 2016-2017 season and wish them well in the race series.”

Interconnect Partner

Added Amon Pereira at Purdue Electric Racing, “We have a good track record of working with Harwin, so when we were challenged to focus on reliability, they were the obvious interconnect partner. We are currently using Harwin’s Datamate Mix-Tek mixed power and signal connector – proven in the harshest environments of space, defence and oil & gas exploration – for the electronic systems on our latest car.”

Datamate Mix-Tek connectors are available off-the-shelf in a number of standard configurations, with power contacts rated up to 20 amps or 40 amps, signal contacts to 3 amps and coax contacts rated at 50 ohms.

This year, the focus has been to build a functional working car – this will be a platform for attracting more talent in the future, and improving the skills and abilities of the current members. Many improvements and progress has been made during the year to achieve this goal.

The team is now heading into the 2017 summer break, and progress will resume once the next academic year begins.

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