For more than 30 years, the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) has held an annual competition known as Formula SAE. The competition directive is for students to design and build a formula-style racing car, and then compete against similar race cars built by other students from all over the world.
Today, over 500 teams compete world-wide. SAE requires cars to be designed for the weekend autocross racer. SAE programs are directed to build a car that has excellent handling, braking, and acceleration capabilities. However, sheer performance is not the only goal. The car must also be design to be affordable, easy to maintain, and reliable. Additionally, ergonomics and aesthetics must be addressed.
- To produce world-class engineers through a commitment to learning and innovation.
- To justify design decisions through engineering methods and validate simulation with physical testing.
- To design, build, test, and tune two cars to maximize points at all events at competition.
- To improve future performance through thorough documentation of all technical and administrative work.
- 2015: The UW Formula Motorsports team placed 6th in the design event at the Formula Student Germany Competition, marking the best design performance we ever had. However, the team placed 30th in the overall competition due to mechanical issues. The team also competed in Lincoln, landing an astonishing 2nd place in design and 13th overall due to a blown radiator fan fuse which lead to a blown valve cover gasket, forcing us to end endurance early.
- 2014: The team had another very successful year. In Germany, the cCar placed an impressive 6th place overall, the highest ranking to date. The electric car ended up placing 5th place overall in Lincoln.
- 2013: The UW Formula Motorsports Team made its 2nd appearance at the German competition. This time the UW team placed 7th overall in the Formula Student Germany competition. In addition to Germany, the UW team competed in Lincoln, Nebraska and took 1st in combustion and 2nd overall in electric.
- 2012: For the first time in UW Formula Motorsports history, we competed overseas in Europe for Formula Student Germany at the Hockenheimring. Formula Student Germany draws the best teams from around the world, and the opportunity to compete there marks the next step in the growth of the UW Formula Motorsports team.
- 2012 also marked the beginning of development of an electric car. It was the first year that an electric vehicle competition ran in parallel with the combustion competition in the United States. Formula Student Germany has had an electric competition for a few years now, but now we have the opportunity to compete here in the US as well.
Harwin signed on to sponsor the UWashington Formula Motorsports because of their commitment to manufacturing an innovative formula style electric race car. They compete against 500 teams worldwide and are currently ranked 8th in the United States. The team will be using Harwin spring probes to ensure this year’s car performs at its best.
The Harwin spring probes being used are one of the most critical components on the Electric Race Car because they serve as the main electrical path in the battery pack of the vehicle. Each PCB has four lithium polymer batteries attached through the 8 cell tabs which form a single cell. The battery pack of UWashington’s vehicle is composed of roughly 70 cells split into 5 cell groups for safety purposes. Each individual cell is connected to other cells using the spring probes. This then provides the power for the rest of the vehicle.
At the end of June the car was entered into the Formula Student event at Lincoln, NE, USA. The Electric Race Car received a perfect score in accuracy in the cost presentation, passed technical inspection for the first time, and was cleared to compete in the 22km endurance race.
25 teams took part in a race that requires one driver swap after 11 km – three minutes to stop, swap drivers, restart the car and continue the race. The Electric Race Car performed very well, considering this was the first year that the car had qualified for the race. The vehicle successfully completed the entire race with the second best average lap time of 100.107 seconds, and achieved an impressive 5th place overall.
Next Stop – Formula Student Germany…