State University of Campinas in Brazil just swept that country’s first Electric Formula SAE competition. The Unicamp E-Racing team, which is made up of 25 students from mechanical, electrical, and computer engineering disciplines, built a high-performance race car that runs entirely on electric power.
Team member Bruno Rugno Delatti says the contest presented an especially appealing challenge for his group. For example, he says, the performance of the car was impressive. “The electric powertrain has characteristics that make the car more aggressive on the track …. It has a higher and constant torque from zero RPM.”
Formula SAE is a student design competition that’s been held since 1979. Groups of university students develop small formula-style autocross cars that are judged on engineering design, performance, efficiency, and endurance. Students also compete on cost analysis and business presentation.
But while the SAE competition is more than 30 years old, the electric car category is new this year. Delatti says his team, which had built combustion engines for the contest in the past, was particularly intpired this year by the potential of alternative fuels.
“Electric propulsion is an advantage for Brazil because our energy matrix is based on hydroelectric energy,” says Delatti. “Electric is abundant and considered a green energy here.”
For its winning entry, the Unicamp team made the most of some new ideas:
“Our car uses one single electric motor in direct drive configuration,” says Delatti. “This motor uses a cutting edge technology that allows higher specific power than conventional motors: it has 100kW of peak (about 134HP) and weighs only 25kg.”
He points out that, with this direct drive configuration, the team eliminated a lot of components, such as front and rear sprockets, chains, and shields. This in turn helped simplify the system and keep the overall weight low.
The Unicamp Trophy Case
In December 2012, the electric SAE competition’s freshman year, team Unicamp won seven of eight available awards for:
The Unicamp Design Software
Team Unicamp designed parts and assemblies for its electric vehicle with PTC Creo. The team reports that designers used key functions like extrude, revolve, sweep, and blend, as well as assembly features.
Assembly Mechanism created in PTC Creo
And, when the model was finished, Unicamp gave it the “full effect” for marketing with PTC Creo rendering tools:
Rendering of the Unicamp electric racer
“The Unicamp E-Racing team is grateful for the PTC sponsorship,” says Delatti, and the team plans to continue the relationship next year.
The Unicamp team’s success in the Electric Formula SAE competition has won it a spot in the international competition June 2013 in Lincoln, Nebraska.
With electric and hybrid cars becoming more successful in competitions, as well as an industry hungry for skilled talent, many of the 25 students on the Unicamp E-Racing team can look forward to a bright future in automotive R&D.
We congratulate and celebrate all these future engineers, and send them our best wishes in Nebraska!