Formula Hybrid |
Students compete virtually and overcome incredible obstacles.
October 8, 2020
By Catha Mayor Lamm
In late March, officials of Dartmouth's annual Formula Hybrid + Electric (FH+E) competition made the difficult decision to cancel all on-track events and make FH+E 2020 a static-events-only (SEO) competition. The change was announced as early as possible to enable international teams to stop shipment of their cars to the track.
SEO is a classification normally used for teams that are not able to complete their cars in time, but would still like the benefit of competing in the static events, which this year consisted of:
Founded and run by Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth, FH+E drew 18 teams from across the US and Canada, as well as India, who competed virtually from April 3–June 10, logging a total of approximately 70 hours of competition programming. Similar to Formula SAE®, FH+E challenges undergraduate and graduate engineering student teams to build innovative high-performance hybrid and electric race cars while adhering to strict safety standards.
Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) Hot Wheelz Team, winner of this year's Electric Class
"In many aspects, 2020 was anything but a normal competition," said FH+E director Mike Chapman D’76 Th’77. "Due to the pandemic, we weren’t able to gather at the track for the usual dynamic events of Acceleration, Autocross, and Endurance. Instead, we held the static events using Zoom and a virtual expo that enabled our sponsors to review their products, showcase their technologies, and provide career guidance to the students.
"The common thread between past competitions and 2020," continued Chapman, "was that the teams, advisors, sponsors, and volunteers all pulled together to make this a successful event. We may have missed cheering on the teams as they blasted around the endurance course, but we still marveled at their resilience and capacity to change in the face of many daunting circumstances. Just as in the past, this year’s competition provided the teams a set of experiences and capabilities that they will be able to apply to their future careers."
RV College of Engineering, Ashwa Racing, winner of this year's Hybrid Class
"A good action plan with a heavy focus on reliability was integrated into [Ashwa Racing's] project plan," said Ed March, chief judge of the Project Plan Presentations. "The team developed an interesting organizational approach in which technical and managerial responsibilities were distributed across groups within the 23-person team.”
Lead Project Plan Presentation judge Kris MacCartney noted "how the RIT team approaches the competition with a research-first, interdisciplinary style that acknowledges the importance of teamwork beyond tech."
"The presentations were polished and professionally done,” Chapman told SAE International’s MOMENTUM magazine. "Each team worked hard to adhere to the updated requirements that were put in place due to the pandemic. They all did an excellent job relaying how the pandemic had impacted their project plans, build plans, and design completion."