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Hybrid racer event gets NH college engineers to pull together

May 06, 2013   |   by Dan Seufert   |   NH Union Leader

A group of Dartmouth electrical and mechanical engineering students are learning how to speak each other's language this week at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

The team designed and built the college's automobile entry in the seventh-annual Formula Hybrid Competition.

Their task was to create a car for the 20-college competition that will compete in time trials - no small task considering only nine of the 20 colleges registered were able to complete their vehicles this year.

But the actual goal of the competition is for students to get real-world experience managing an engineering project, which can be difficult when mechanical and electrical - and even a few chenical - engineers have different ideas of how to to accomplish the same task.

"It's no secret that sometimes mechanical engineers and electrical engineers don't seem to be able to talk to each other. An electrical engineer will want to do something electrically, and a mechanical engineer will want to do it mechanically," said Douglas A. Fraser of Dartmouth's Thayer School of Engineering and the competition's director.

"This competition teaches them to be bilingual and work with each other," he said.

Dartmouth Formula Racing team
The Dartmouth Formula Racing team at Formula Hybrid. Photo by Kathryn LoConte Lapierre.

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