Dartmouth’s Formula Hybrid Competition: 10 Years of Experiential Learning

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April 21, 2016

Celebrating its 10th consecutive year, Dartmouth's Formula Hybrid Competition will take place May 2 – 5 (with an optional added "Tech Day" on May 1st) at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, NH. Founded and run by Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth, the competition features high-performance hybrid and electric race cars built by teams of undergraduate and graduate engineering students.

This year, 28 teams are registered, including the competition's first all-female team: Hot Wheelz from Rochester Institute of Technology. Sixteen Hot Wheelz team members and their advisers traveled to NH last spring to scope out the 2015 competition. "I don’t think we were there an hour and everybody at the place was talking about the all-girls engineering team that was visiting," technical adviser Martin Schooping said. [Read more about Hot Wheelz.]

Dartmouth based its event on the Formula SAE® competition, in which the Dartmouth Formula Racing (DFR) team competed for over 10 years. Like Formula SAE®, students compete in aspects of design, acceleration, handling, and endurance of their vehicle and abide by a list of rules that minimize risk while preserving the students' freedom to innovate. Formula Hybrid teams, however, are faced with the additional challenge of optimizing both energy efficiency and sustainability of materials used in their cars providing students with a uniquely challenging experiential learning experience.

"I have been honored to participate as a special judge at the competitions," says Harold Flescher, nuclear physicist and IEEE Life Fellow. "The opportunities young people today have to participate in hands-on learning experiences like Formula Hybrid is something we never dreamed about in the 1960s. The depth of knowledge and creativity shown by these students is amazing and inspiring, and each year I anxiously await seeing the new approaches shown and technologies used by these students."

Waterloo Hybrid car
Last year's winner of the Hybrid Category: University of Waterloo.

"You build a car but more than that you build a team, you build a family." — Sven Wehrman, University of Waterloo

For most spectators, "The best day to attend is Wednesday, May 4th for the autocross and acceleration events that run from 10:00am to 3:30pm," said Amy Keeler, the Competition's Associate Director. "Then stop by the BBQ hosted by Dartmouth Society of Engineers and the IEEE Student Chapter" (6:00pm). Wednesday will also be Formula Hybrid School Day when middle and high school students enjoy guided tours with volunteers from the New England Section of the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) and other knowledgeable experts.

See the competition website for more schedule information.

Competition sponsors include the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Sports Car Club of America, LG Chem Power, Intralinks, Ford, General Motors, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, and Toyota. [See full list of sponsors.]

"Toyota is thrilled to continue our nearly decade long support of Formula Hybrid," says Robert Wimmer, Director of Energy and Environmental Research Group, Toyota Motor North America. "This competition provides students with the hands-on engineering and program management experience that is highly sought after by the automotive industry. As a company that will eventually offer a hybrid drivetrain in every model we sell, Toyota sees an accelerating demand for the skills being honed by the Formula Hybrid competition."

2015 Videos

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