S&T team to race electrically powered Formula cars

The team in action at a previous competition. Photo from S&T’s Formula SAE Electric Facebook page.

A team of students from Missouri University of Science and Technology will race their Formula One-style racecars while proving the viability of electric power at Formula SAE-Lincoln, an international student design competition.

The event will be held June 21-24 at the Lincoln Airpark in Lincoln, Nebraska. The competition challenges students to design, build and operate Formula One-style racecars.

As part of the competition, students must present a budget report and discuss the engineering principles behind each car’s design to a panel of industry experts. Each school’s team must also pass a rigorous electronics inspection to ensure the car’s safety. Teams will then compete in four dynamic events.

A skid-pad event tests the car’s turning and cornering on a figure-8-shaped course. An acceleration test measures the car’s speed over a short distance. A one-lap autocross event proves the car’s maneuverability on a tight course and determines the starting order for the final event – an endurance race to prove durability. In the endurance race, the car must withstand the stress of long-term driving at elevated speeds over a long course. Each race is timed to rank the teams; none of the events are head-to-head races.

The Missouri S&T Formula SAE Electric Team’s car has a student-designed and -made steel chassis, fiberglass protective shell and custom suspension system. The car’s battery pack features approximately 50 lithium battery cells. The pack can produce a maximum voltage of nearly 300 volts and a current of roughly 200 amps.

Dr. Ryan Hutcheson, assistant teaching professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at Missouri S&T, is the Formula SAE Electric Team’s faculty advisor. For more information about the events, visit students.sae.org.

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