Formula Electric Belgium unites a group of motivated engineering students from different campuses of KU Leuven University and Thomas More University College in Flanders, Belgium. The Formula project offers the team members a working environment which resembles to a realistic case, in which they have to apply all their technical and soft skills. Apart from enhancing these skills and bringing their education to a higher level, the practical goal of the project is to design, build and drive an electric Formula Student race car. In the process, they are joined by several partners who help realize the building of the car. After a year of development and manufacturing processes, the team will participate in several international events of the Formula Student competition. Formula Electric Belgium is not just a racing team. The project offers a platform in which technological partners can showcase and test their latest innovating developments. The team wants to share the acquired knowledge and experiences with other students by developing informative and educational packages to promote engineering technology and science with a focus on electrical mobility
THE PROJECT AS A PART OF THE CURRICULUM
The team members of Formula Electric Belgium have a diverse educational background. This multi disciplinary project involves students from three different study programs:
- The postgraduate program Innovative Entrepreneurship at the KU Leuven, in which master students combine the project with a few optional courses. This postgraduate program can be divided over two years in combination with the industrial engineering master program or can be commenced after the master program in one year. This group of students forms the core of the team, postgraduate students typically occupy managing and organizational functions within the teamstructure
- The professional bachelor programs of Automotive Technology, Design & Production technology and Electronics at the Thomas More University College. In this program, students get the chance to design and realize a specific part of the car as a subject in their dissertation.
- The master program Industrial Engineering at the KU Leuven where master students perform research on the application of new technologies to implement into the current design and in the future.
All these students combine the project with their regular study. Most of the team members are following a two year program. This way, the transfer of acquired knowledge between the different generations is ensured.
THE FORMULA STUDENT COMPETITION
Formula Student is a platform for the next generation of world class engineers. It is Europe’s most prestigious engineering competition for students and it is organized by SAE International. The competition was organized in Europe for the first time in 1998 because there was a big demand for young engineers with practical experience in terms of teamwork, design and project planning.
Formula Student challenges university teams worldwide to design and build their own car in only nine months time. The performance of the car and the qualities of the team are being evaluated during static and dynamic events. To complete this mission successfully the team has to work together and think of creative solutions for the problems presented by the judges. An additional difficulty is completing the whole project within a certain budget and time. The competition involves combustion cars as well as electric cars. Formula Electric Belgium only participates in the electric class.
A Formula Student event is not only a race against the clock where the first one to cross the finish line is the winner. During several days the teams are subjected to different tests. A team can set its goal for a sublime result for one of the tests or go for the best all-round result. The events are divided into two categories: static and dynamic events. All participating teams can join in the static events. To compete in the dynamics, the teams have to qualify during a very strict safety check called ‘scrutineering’.
|DYNAMIC EVENTS||STATIC EVENTS|
|Skid Pad||Design analysis|
|Autocross||Business plan presentation|
Below you can learn more about these different events.
This event focuses on the performance of the power train and the ability of the suspension to result in the highest possible tire grip. The result of this test corresponds to the time needed to accelerate from a standstill until 75m are driven.
The self-built cars drive on a track in a figure eight shape. There are two consecutive laps on each circle with the second lap being timed. The cars demonstrate with a fast lap time how much lateral acceleration they can handle.
The driving dynamics and handling qualities of a racecar are being tested on a course of about one kilometer through a sequence of straights and curves.
Over a distance of 22 kilometers the cars have to prove their durability under long-term conditions. Acceleration, speed, handling, dynamics, efficiency, reliability … they have to prove it all. The Endurance also demands handling skills of the driver as there can be up to five cars on the track at the same time.
For this event, the team has to make an accurate calculation of the total cost of their vehicle. The students have to clarify where the investments of the budget are being made and which added value this gives to the car. On top of this, they have to proof that the effects on the car’s sustainability have been taken into consideration when choosing the materials and components.
The students defend the specific choices for used materials, different components and the self-developed systems to a group of judges. A strong focus is put on how the design fills in the specific market needs.
Business plan presentation
The teams presents its business plan for an assumed manufacturer represented by the judges. With this business plan the students have to convince them to invest in their car. The content, structure, organization and performance of the presentation are being judge