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Dartmouth Formula Racing Wins for Best Electric Car

May 09, 2013   |   by Keith Chapman   |   Dartmouth Now

The Dartmouth Formula Racing (DFR) team overcame battery problems to run away with first prize for the top electric car at last week’s Formula Hybrid Competition.

Dartmouth placed first in the “electric drive class" of the Competition which took place April 29 to May 2 at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, N.H. The teams were evaluated on design, acceleration, presentation, and on their endurance and autocross runs.

“We set out to win the event and had no idea the challenges we were up against,” says Darren Reis ’13, a Dartmouth engineering student who drove in the competition. “This year was a great result for us.”

Finishing with 860.89 points, Dartmouth had nearly twice the score of the second place finisher, the University of Vermont, in the electric car category. Twenty institutions registered for the competition, which has electric car and hybrid car divisions. Only 11 colleges and universities brought cars to the seventh annual event, though, which speaks to the difficult nature of constructing such a car. This was the first time Dartmouth competed with an all-electric car.

Christen Bilger takes the wheel
Chris Bilger ’11 heads out onto the track for her acceleration run. Photo by Kathryn LoConte Lapierre.

Dartmouth’s car, nicknamed “Paula,” weighed in at 832 pounds. In the acceleration run, Paula covered 75 meters in 6.181 seconds with engineering graduate student Christen Bilger ’11 behind the wheel.

“I had the time of my life,” says Bilger. “It was extremely rewarding to summarize all the hard work our team had put into the car and do so incredibly in the Competition.”

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