Formula Student Electric

Origin : The Formula SAE competition was created in 1981 by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) in the USA. Rather than only being a driver’s competition, it aimed at rewarding the best designs created by teams. The educational interest is undeniable; students can apply in a real-world and very complex problem all that they had learned in the classroom. 6 teams registered for the very first edition.

Since then, the Formula SAE has taken a lot of momentum with more than 600 teams registered worldwide. 10 competitions are organized in 8 countries and 3 continents. 33 nationalities are represented in the competition. Some competitions are estimated to generate more than a Million euros of media coverage.

The Formula SAE/Student is recognized worldwide for its huge educational interest. Students participate in a hard, complex, and unforgiving adventure. They learn a lot about the technical aspects of the car but also, they learn what it means to work in a team during a very challenging project. The rules are strict but allow a freedom of engineering unique to Formula Student. Cars are very different in their conception and manufacturing and students can compare many techniques.

Official Page
The competition:
The Formula Student competition has 3 categories:
  1. Combustion: This is the oldest category with cars equipped with an Internal Combustion Engine. Despite being in the shadow of high-tech AWD electric cars, it has not said its last words and teams always come up with new ideas.
  2. Electric: Electric cars are quite new to the competition but dominate it nearly every year since its introduction in 2010. Electric cars are at the pinnacle of innovation with All-Wheel Drive, Torque Vectoring, advanced slip control and Drag Reduction System (DRS).
  3. Autonomous: Since 2016, a special competition is organized for autonomous cars. In only 2 years, huge developments have been made and the results are impressive. The best autonomous cars are faster than most electric cars of the competition.

The competition is split in static and dynamic events. Static events are used to judge the potential of the teams and the design of their cars. The Formula Student Competition is part of a role play where every team represents a fictional company. Teams must study the market and define a strategy for their company and their car. They must respect this strategy in the conception of their car and in any static event.

  1. Business Plan Presentation: 75 points; Teams present the strategy of their fictional company and how much money they will be able to make. The level of this event is high, and teams are very creative.
  2. Cost and Manufacturing: 100 points; Teams present how they evaluate the cost of their car in mass production. This evaluates the team’s knowledge about different manufacturing process, their costs and their pros and cons.
  3. Engineering Design: 150 points; Teams showcase the design of their car and its components. The judges evaluate the members’ ability to understand the workings of the car’s physics and the reason of their design.
  4. Technical Inspection: Although not being part of the competition. Technical inspections take a lot of time and judges checks if every rule is strictly respected. Even though Formula Student is a student competition, safety is a crucial.

Dynamic events are used to judge the pure performance and reliability of the car. Each event tests a specific aspect of the car. Many World Records have been set during these events.

  1. Skid Pad: 75 points; The Skid Pad is composed of 2 wet circles of around 5m radius and the goal is to get around them the fastest possible. It judges the car’s ability to corner.
  2. Acceleration: 75 points: The acceleration is a drag race of 75 meters. It judges the acceleration capabilities of the car and the effectiveness of the different control algorithms.
  3. Autocross: 100 points; The autocross is a 1km slalom. 2 drivers have 2 run each and the goal is to be the fastest team. It judges the overall car performance when it is pushed to its absolute maximum.
  4. Endurance: 325 points; Endurance is the king of the events. It consists in 22 laps of a 1km track. It tests the car’s speed but also its reliability. Many cars never cross the finishing line of this dreaded ordeal.
  5. Efficiency: 100 points; Efficiency is not an event itself but it rewards the cars having the best efficiency during other events.

Partners

GKN
MathWorks
Exxon Mobil
Infiniti
Niche
Mercedes
Mahle
SAIC
Ricardo
Bosch
Jaguar LandRover
lcbs
locm
Williams Martini Racing
mbda