Author: Isaac Baldry, Aerodynamics Lead
Cover photo by: Michael Hanau, Digital Media Coordinator
This moment has been a long time coming. Five years ago the team made the decision to design our first Electric FSAE car. The ambitious decision was made to design all of the electric system ourselves. This was done due to a number of reasons, including university voltage regulations and the skills of the members at the time. This resulted in a car with a HV system under 120VDC, meaning we required electric motors with a very high pole count to produce the necessary power. This severely limited the choice of commercially available inverters and the team made the decision to design and manufacture our own. The team at the time did a fantastic job to get the system designed and built in time to get to competition in 2016. Unfortunately, some issues prevented us from competing dynamically that year.
At the conclusion of that year the majority of the students that designed the system graduated, leaving us with an electrical team consisting of two first year students. This, along with the loss of most of the code for the car due to a corrupted hard drive put the team in a very difficult position, nearly resulting in the team to be shut down. However through the extremely hard work of the remaining team members, fantastic support for staff, our faculty advisors and the university itself, we have built back up into a team that we are really proud of. Our fresh electrical team, with help from alumni, spent the last 2 years building up our extremely complex electrical system to something resembling a running car.
This came to fruition on the 24th of September 2019 where we were able to conduct a low speed test of the electrical system in our old QEV-1 chassis. The test was conducted at 30 Volts and 2% of total vehicle power on the few remaining battery cells we have left over from 2016. It did however prove the operation of our custom built chassis controller, PDM and Inverters, which we consider an incredible achievement for our inexperienced team. From initial bench testing conducted, we know the powertrain has plenty of potential at full power. With the new accumulator under construction and the 2019 QEV-2 chassis only a few weeks away from rolling, we are very excited to get the system into the new car and conduct full power track testing before competition this year.
Though it may not seem like much, this small test is a big deal for our team and is a result of years of hard work from a large number of current and former students. Only we know the challenges that faced us, and we are very proud to say we overcame them to get the team to where it is today.
We would like to extend a huge thankyou to each and every student past and present that have contributed to the QEV-1 project over the years. We wish you could have all been around to see the car compete, but we hope you will support us at competition this year.
We would also like to thank all of our sponsors for their support through this time, we could not have gotten here without you.