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Dartmouth's 18th Formula Hybrid+Electric Competition to Host a Record Number of Teams

Apr 17, 2024   |   by Catha Mayor

Formula Hybrid+Electric (FH+E)—founded and run by Dartmouth—registered a record 32 engineering student teams for the 18th annual competition on April 29–May 2 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway (NHMS).

Last year, University of Wyoming won first place overall in the hybrid vehicle category, and also took home the "IEEE Engineering the Future" award. (Photo by Harvest Moon Photography)

This year's teams, including 14 new and 18 returning, will involve over 500 undergraduate and graduate engineering students from across the US and Canada competing with the hybrid and electric high-performance race cars they designed and built over the last ten months.

"The number of teams is a substantial increase over last year, and a record for the competition's history," says FH+E Director Mike Chapman. "Over ten years ago, we expanded to include a battery electric category, making FH+E the only collegiate competition in the world to host both a hybrid and an electric class. The majority of teams this year are competing with high-performance electric-only vehicles, which is considered to be the future of the automobile industry."

Each vehicle will need to pass numerous technical and safety inspections in order to make it onto the track at NHMS, also known as "The Magic Mile." But the competition makes sure to remind participants that "winning isn't limited to the teams that take home the trophies." Even teams that don't see the track can win by gaining valuable problem-solving and teamwork skills.

"I have learned so much about how the engineering process is supposed to look like and how to oversee and bring together large, interdisciplinary projects," says Megan Gupta, captain of MIT Motorsports. "The biggest thing I've gotten out of the experience is a family and a group of people I can really count on and achieve anything with."

"[The most challenging part so far has been] rolling with the punches as students from all different levels on the team learn best engineering practices together," says Joe McInnis '24, captain of Dartmouth Formula Racing. "There are lows when something doesn't go as planned, but even the smallest success can instantly make it all worth it."

Students participate in FH+E not only to collaborate and learn from engineering challenges, but also for the chance to be scouted by top car manufacturers and high-tech companies. This year features expanded networking opportunities such as the Virtual Career Fair, Office Hours, Virtual Racing Challenge, and receptions at the Vintage Racing Stable and New England Racing Museum. 2024 competition sponsors include Tesla, Applied Materials, Vicor, MacLean-Fogg, AVL, ePropelled, and Allegro MicroSystems.

Last year, 21 teams representing 350 undergraduate and graduate engineering students from across the US and Canada registered to compete. (Video by Rusty Spydell)

Similar to the Formula SAE® competition, students compete in aspects of design, acceleration, handling and endurance of their vehicle while abiding by rules that minimize risk and preserve students' freedom to innovate. FH+E teams, however, are faced with the additional challenge of optimizing both energy efficiency and sustainability of materials used in their cars. As a result, FH+E is the only competition that requires a unique collaboration between mechanical engineers, electrical engineers and computer scientists in the planning and building of their cars.

"Formula Hybrid" became "Formula Hybrid+Electric" in 2020 to better reflect that although it started as a hybrid-only event, there have been both hybrid and electric-only competition classes since 2012.

For spectators, Wednesday, May 1 is the best day to visit. The autocross and acceleration events run from 10:00am–3:30pm, and it's also FH+E School Visit Day when approximately 300 middle and high school students will enjoy expert-guided tours and talks with the teams. See full schedule.

For more information, visit formula-hybrid.org.

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