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 Post subject: Max Energy Allocation
 Post Posted: Fri Jun 15, 2012 5:07 pm 
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Joined: Thu Sep 09, 2010 6:32 pm
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Location: University of Idaho
Does the maximum energy allocation apply to all dynamic events or just the endurance event? In the rules for hybrid vehicles its stated in section 1.1 Formula Hybrid Competition Objective that there is a maximum endurance energy allocation but I couldn't find anything stating that this maximum applies to any other events. The thought behind this being that there is a potential to have one size accumulator for the endurance event and a larger (perhaps the maximum size) one for the other events.

This also brings up the question of having multiple accumulator types that could be swapped out. Lets say if a team wanted to run ultracapasitors for the acceleration and autocross events and batteries for the endurance.


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 Post subject: Re: Max Energy Allocation
 Post Posted: Fri Jun 15, 2012 9:07 pm 
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Location: Texas A&M
wos9722 wrote:
Does the maximum energy allocation apply to all dynamic events or just the endurance event? In the rules for hybrid vehicles its stated in section 1.1 Formula Hybrid Competition Objective that there is a maximum endurance energy allocation but I couldn't find anything stating that this maximum applies to any other events. The thought behind this being that there is a potential to have one size accumulator for the endurance event and a larger (perhaps the maximum size) one for the other events.

This also brings up the question of having multiple accumulator types that could be swapped out. Lets say if a team wanted to run ultracapasitors for the acceleration and autocross events and batteries for the endurance.


Energy allocation applies only to endurance. You are not allowed to switch accumulators. Once the competition starts, there is a short list of changes/modifications that you are allowed to make. Section 3.7.3 on page 70 of the 2012 rules covers what is allowed.

Why would you want a bigger, heavier accumulator for auto-x or acceleration when you don't need the energy capacity? Seems like you should size the energy requirements for endurance, and the power requirements for acceleration/auto-x, all while making the accumulator as light as possible.

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- 1st place FH '09: 981 pts


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 Post subject: Re: Max Energy Allocation
 Post Posted: Tue Jun 19, 2012 11:59 am 
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Joined: Mon Mar 12, 2012 7:07 am
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I think what he meant was that if there was not a restriction on energy allocation for acceleration and autocross, combined with the ability to switch out accumulators, a higher discharge method of storage such as capacitors could be used for the events where acceleration is the primary design objective. For the endurance event, efficiency is the primary design objective, not acceleration, therefore a slower discharge rate method of storage would be more applicable.

That being said, my intuition tells me even for a very high discharge rate and extremely robust mechanical system to handle it, you would not be able to use more than 19.5 MJ in the acceleration or autocross runs; but it would be interesting to look into.

Concerning the ability to change out accumulator, if each accumulator was inspected on the vehicle during the technical inspection, and both were deemed safe and within the rules (as well as the method of changing between the two) then you would probably be able to use different accumulators. If both systems were approved, then it really wouldn't be an alteration from what had gone through tech, and the post-tech list of approved changes really wouldn't apply.


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 Post subject: Re: Max Energy Allocation
 Post Posted: Tue Jun 19, 2012 10:06 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jun 03, 2009 1:29 am
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Location: Texas A&M
The whole point of this competition is compromise, and picking the compromises that lead to a car that will gain the most points. Anyone can design a car/accumulator/electric drive system to do only 1 thing really well (accel, auto-x, endurance, etc), but the trick is designing one that can do it all better than everyone else.

Designing a part that never fails is easy: just make it really big and really strong, and you'll never have to worry about it. Engineering is designing a part that never fails and is as light as possible at the same time.

If you are allowed to swap out your accumulator between events, then my car is going to take them off completely. There is no rule requirement to use electric power for auto-x or endurance, so no need to carry them. I'd also remove the electric motor and all the high voltage wiring, because the car is faster for auto-x/endurance than with them. Texas A&M did really well by virtually never using electric power for auto-x/endurance, think how much faster the car will be once it loses that dead weight...

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- 1st place FH '09: 981 pts


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 Post subject: Re: Max Energy Allocation
 Post Posted: Thu Jun 21, 2012 6:58 pm 
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Location: University of Idaho
Mojave wrote:
The whole point of this competition is compromise, and picking the compromises that lead to a car that will gain the most points. Anyone can design a car/accumulator/electric drive system to do only 1 thing really well (accel, auto-x, endurance, etc), but the trick is designing one that can do it all better than everyone else.


I will agree with you that compromise is key to winning this as well as any design competition; to do the best you can, with the time you have, and the resources you got requires compromise. But compromise is a method of wining the competition not the point of it. The point and purpose of the competition as stated on the formula hybrid official site is as follows,

Quote:
Formula Hybridâ„¢ is a design and engineering challenge for undergraduate and graduate college and university students. They must design, build, and compete an open-wheel, single-seat, electric or plug-in hybrid-electric racecar. This car must conform to a formula which emphasizes drive train innovation and fuel efficiency in a high-performance application.


Quote:
Purpose
1. To give engineering students the opportunity to work across disciplinary boundaries while engineering and developing an electric or hybrid-electric race car.
2. To encourage and promote the development of high-efficiency automotive drive trains.


I don't bring this up as a means to argue about what the point of competition is but to state that the originally proposed question concerning swapping accumulators has some validity in the context of this competition's purpose.

The original question came about after running across an electric car company proposing a battery (accumulator) swapping design rather than the current plug-in design. The idea behind this is that one could drive their vehicle till the batteries start to run low, then pull in to a swapping station and change them out for fully charged ones, nearly as fast as filling up a gas tank. With that, who is to say that they couldn't have different performance levels on their accumulators to accommodate different driving styles/conditions/distances/etc.

Furthermore, at the competition any team can fill their tank up between driver heats for any event, having a spare accumulator, even if its the exact same size, spec, everything, and passed through electrical technical inspection, why not allow teams to swap them out?


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 Post subject: Re: Max Energy Allocation
 Post Posted: Fri Jun 22, 2012 1:55 pm 
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Joined: Mon Mar 12, 2012 7:07 am
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Mojave wrote:
If you are allowed to swap out your accumulator between events, then my car is going to take them off completely. There is no rule requirement to use electric power for auto-x or endurance, so no need to carry them. I'd also remove the electric motor and all the high voltage wiring, because the car is faster for auto-x/endurance than with them. Texas A&M did really well by virtually never using electric power for auto-x/endurance, think how much faster the car will be once it loses that dead weight...


Taking the electrical propulsion off the vehicle for the portions of the competition where it is not explicitly required would definitely help most teams. Obviously that is not in the spirit of a hybrid competition, but if swapping was approved, then that could be an implication the rules would have to address. If the rules committee were to address it, I think that it would be a much larger engineering challenge to mandate a certain energy allotment requiring teams to be somewhere between 40% electric/60% gas and 60% electric/40% gas. This would prevent teams from being "hybrid enough" to do an electrical acceleration, but really don't use their electric propulsion system anywhere else in the competition. It seems to me that teams who are 90% gas are barely keeping with the spirit of the competition by not using electric power for anything but one event. Now don't get me wrong, if that wins a competition then everyone should do it! But consider swapping the accumulators. It potentially could help you win, but also be against the spirit/point of the competition, similar to being only 90% gasoline. At that point the spirit/point really shouldn't matter (since we already established that you don't have to be a hybrid to win autocross and endurance) as long as it is safe and you are attempting to win with innovative engineering.


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