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Universities of Toronto and Wyoming Win Dartmouth's Formula Hybrid+Electric Competition

May 17, 2023   |   by Catha Mayor

Formula Hybrid+Electric (FH+E)—founded and run by Dartmouth—brought 21 teams representing 350 engineering students from across the US and Canada to New Hampshire Motor Speedway (NHMS) for their 17th annual competition on May 1–4. University of Toronto took first place in the electric category, and University of Wyoming captured first in the hybrid category.

Electric category 1st place winner, University of Toronto. (Photo by Bill Gordon)

Electric category second place went to Carnegie Mellon University followed by a tie for third between Lawrence Technological University and Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Hybrid category second place went to Milwaukee School of Engineering and third place to University of Victoria. (See full results info and photo album)

The high-performance cars the students designed and built over the last ten months needed to pass numerous technical and safety inspections in order to make it onto the track at NHMS. In spite of several days of cold, wet, windy weather, it was a banner year for FH+E: A record ten teams were cleared for the acceleration, autocross, and endurance events; Carnegie Mellon set an acceleration run record of just over 3.6 seconds, and also demoed their driverless car built using Formula Student Germany rules—a first in the US. In addition, School Visit Day hosted an unprecedented ~300 middle and high school students for guided tours and talks with the teams.

But the competition is designed for every team—including those that don't make it onto the track—to gain valuable skills around problem-solving and teamwork. They also got the chance to be scouted for a job by top car manufacturers and high-tech companies, including Toyota (the official car and truck of NHMS), Allegro MicroSystems, Tesla, BAE Systems, AVL, ePropelled, and Vicor.

(Video by Rusty Spydell)

Dartmouth Formula Racing team (partial). (Photo by Desiree Drindak)

Dartmouth Formula Racing (DFR) was one of the teams that competed "static-only" this year, having not passed all required inspections for the dynamic track events. The team was made up of mostly first-year students who joined DFR last fall and began the process of understanding all the systems on the car and systematically addressing each issue that came up through months of implementing, redesigning, and testing.

On the first day of competition, which is dedicated to technical inspections for rules compliance, the team worked relentlessly to troubleshoot connections and debug the code that coordinates digital messages between the motor controllers, battery management system, and vehicle control boards.

Troubleshooting efforts continued on day two, and DFR participated in the static events, presenting on project management and design. The panel of professional engineer judges found the students' design justification and technical detail sufficient to earn them 10th place overall. On day three, the team passed the first technical inspection necessary to be allowed on track, but unfortunately ran out of time to complete the remaining inspections.

"I couldn't be more proud of the progress they made. This team's growth in understanding vehicle systems, problem solving, project management, and fabrication was impressive. They had a fantastic and positive team dynamic, and I look forward to seeing this group continue to develop their engineering skills in the coming years."

Raina White, Lab Instructor & DFR Team Advisor

(Video by Chris Johnson)

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