Best Electric Car in Formula Student Netherlands!
After a magnificent performance from everyone in the team in all the dynamic and static events, we won first place in the electric car class in the first edition of Formula Student Netherlands, picking up 2nd place in design, acceleration, skidpad, autocross and endurance as well as 1st place in the cost & manufacturing event with an epic performance from everyone in the cost subgroup.
For most of you, Formula Student is something unknown. You can read a post about the competition itself and about the project lifecycle of Chalmers Formula Student in here.
Now, let me walk you through the entire competition.
Arriving to the TT-Circuit in Assen.
940km, 2 ferries and a long Monopoly game (still the best way to survive a long trip, lesson learned from my Lapland trip) later, we arrived at the TT-Circuit, “The Cathedral of Speed”, in Assen. We built the camp and the kitchen tent before heading to town to have dinner.
The day after, everyone gathered in the main hall for the inauguration of the event, where the organizers gave a few words. Afterward, the pit lane was open and everyone started building their own pit which contains the tools and everything needed to take care of any potential issue, do a set-up, prepare for scrutineering, replace a part or to fix the car if needed.
Business Plan Presentation, Design, and Cost & Manufacturing Events.
Not everything is about racing cars. A big part of the competition is about the static events. First static in our to-do list was: the Business Plan Presentation, where every team develops and deliver a comprehensive business model about their product – a prototype race car – and how it could become a rewarding business opportunity for the judges (“potential investors”); this is where teams get creative in their business models and presentations.
Furthermore, in the Cost and Manufacturing Event, every team needs to be able to show their understanding of the manufacturing processes and costs associated with their race car. This includes trade-off decisions between content and cost, make or buy decisions and understanding the differences between prototype and mass production. A hard copy of all the parts, all the processes and basically everything that is needed to build a race car needs to be presented!
Last but not least. The Engineering Design Event aims to evaluate the team’s ability to explain the engineering processes and effort that went into the design phase; this is where we explain different judges the concepts and technologies implemented, and prove why the chosen design is the best one for our purpose. One of our cornerstones in CFS is to take data-driven decisions, and this is where we show all the data that lead to the design of choice.
Acceleration, Skidpad, and Autocross.
There is nothing like the smell of rubber on the tarmac in the morning. The excitement was the lead character in this magnificent play, where 40 teams were ready to go full throttle.
We were the first ones in the queue for the Skidpad event, where the point of the event is to assess the cornering ability of the car under wet circumstances. Long story short, each team has 4 runs, and in each run, the driver will do two right-hand complete circles and two left-hand ones, the fastest wins.
After completing Skidpad, Viktor (team member from aerodynamics, pool party enthusiast, Swedish and a very good friend) and I headed back to the camp since it was our turn to cook for everyone! Everyone else made their way to the main straight of the circuit where the Acceleration event was taking place.
Like the name suggests it, the point of this event is to assess the acceleration of the race cars, every team has 4 runs in a 75m long straight, this time our car came second, being our fastest time 3.347s.
4 great runs in acceleration later, everyone headed towards the track where the Autocross event was taking place. This is where we “race” our cars in a more real-life environment. Each team has 4 runs on the track, where like any other race the one with the fastest lap wins. This time our team came 4th with a difference of 1.591s between our time and the winning lap.
If the nervousness was not enough, the difference in points between the 1st place and the 4th was minimum. It was all or nothing in the final event of the competition, the most challenging one, the Endurance Event.
This is where only a handful of cars finish, the objective of this event is to push to the limit during 22km, every team needs to be able to run their race car for 22km as fast as possible without running out of fuel or battery charge, without any mechanical failure, without the car suddenly stopping. There is no room for mistake. I gotta say that everyone in my team had 3 heart attacks probably because the car stopped, but luckily the drivers could restart without any external help.
Seeing the car running through the finish line while the chequered flag was waving is a feeling that only a few get to experience, it was amazing. We were 2nd fastest, just right after TU Valencia (the overall winners and the winners in the combustion class as well).
In the end, we took home the 1st place in the electric class, 2nd place overall (combustion + electric), 2nd place in design, 2nd place in acceleration, 2nd place in skidpad, 1st place in cost & manufacturing and 2nd place in endurance. 7 trophies in total in our first competition of the season!
Formula Student Germany is just around the corner, so we need to improve upon our success to achieve a good result in what is the most challenging competition in the Formula Student season.