Student-Built Hybrids, EVs Compete In New Hampshire

Wired

May 7, 2012

By Keith Barry

The New Hampshire Motor Speedway usually echoes with the screech and whine of NASCAR events, but things were a bit quieter this weekend as student-built hybrids and EVs and took over the track for the sixth annual Formula Hybrid competition.

This year, 36 teams from all over the world competed in the event, which was started by Dartmouth’s Thayer School of Engineering back in 2006. The competition itself is based on the Formula SAE program – except with a focus on energy conservation and electric propulsion. The 2012 competition was the largest so far with schools from Taiwan, Brazil and India in attendance. It’s a big jump from 2007, when only six teams competed.

Students have a year to build their cars and can retrofit one they’ve already entered in Formula SAE. They can also reuse a chassis over multiple years, but must abide by a strict set of rules. The majority of teams in competition have existing student motorsports programs, and have competed in other speed and endurance events.

Traditionally, the highlight of the race is the endurance event, where teams are given only 5,555 watt hours of energy to complete a 13.67 mile race. By comparison, that’s about how much electricity a space heater consumes in less than four hours. In addition, cars must compete in acceleration trials and in an autocross event. Teams are also judged on marketing and design.

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