by Corey Spetifore
The University of Victoria’s Formula Hybrid Team, after months of designing, 10 weeks of intense testing and consuming countless Red Bulls, has entered into the final 6 days before heading to New Hampshire for the annual Formula Hybrid competition. The vehicle, having put in a solid test day at last week’s trip to Western Speedway, has had any persisting wrinkles ironed out and is dialed in for an optimal performance during the first week of May. While the brunt of the work has been completed, many preparatory measures, last-minute modifications, and rules checks remain to ensure the team and vehicle alike are well equipped, making for a hectic last few days in the shop.
First on the list of tasks for this week is the manufacturing of a new brake reservoir. “This is a completely new design,” Suspension and Chassis lead Geoff Scott explains. “The reservoirs mount directly to the master cylinders, making for cleaner line routing and easy moving and removing of the entire pedal box.” Next up, the Accumulator Monitoring System (AMS) will be finalized and installed. The AMS, a completely in-house balancing system for the ultracapacitors, “uses specially dedicated balancing integrated circuits that are controlled over CAN [Controller Area Network] through an Arduino nano,” Geoff continues. “The board provides balancing, over-temp, and state-of-charge measurement while controlling the midpack circuitry.”
Various electrical tasks remain to be completed so that the car’s separate powerplants work together effectively. While the accumulator’s monitoring system is finalized, the charging system for it will be fabricated. “Essentially, what we have is a store-bought charger, but we are building control circuitry as well as current loading resistors into it,” explains Brandon Hart, an electrical lead on the team. “After that, it basically just needs to be boxed up.” Brandon and the electrical team will also be completing control tuning for the operation of the hybrid platform, “wiring in and finalizing sensors as needed.” After the wiring is gone over and all grounds are confirmed, the entire wiring harness will be loomed for organization, cleanliness, and protection.
On the aesthetic side of the scale, the dashboard design was finalized earlier this week and now sports a slightly modified switch layout wrapped in a sleek Kevlar package. Another much larger cosmetic component that remains to be done, however, is the finalization of bodywork and paint. Currently donning a nosecone paint theme from the previous season, the car’s visuals will be updated to match UVic’s Formula SAE team, which sports a handsome balance of blank space mixed with the university’s EDGE colour scheme.
The rest, as they say, is all in the details.
The crucial final step before the team hits the high road lies within the tedious process of ensuring all aspects of the car are compliant with the rules of the competition. Having spent countless thousands of hours of work on this car over the past year, the team will double- and even triple-check that all the rules have been met so that all their hard work is able to be showcased in a first-class form on the asphalt at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Stay tuned for updates while they’re on the road as well as a full-length article when they return. Good luck, team!