LOUDON, N.H. – Hundreds of North America’s top engineering students will compete in the 17th annual Formula Hybrid + Electric event May 1-4 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway (NHMS). Twenty-one teams from across the United States and Canada designed and built earth-friendly hybrid and electric vehicles over the last 10 months for the one-of-a-kind competition hosted by the Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth.
The four hybrid and 17 electric vehicles will need to pass numerous technical and safety inspections in order to make it on to “The Magic Mile.”
“The ability to compete in Formula Hybrid + Electric has been an invaluable experience for our team,” said President of Northeastern Electric Racing Catherine Kennedy. “The experience we gain from designing and fabricating an all-electric car, along with all of the non-engineering work that goes on behind the scenes, has really allowed our team members and alumni to stand out in their respective industries. Given New Hampshire Motor Speedway’s proximity to our campus, Formula Hybrid + Electric is also a very accessible competition for us. It is incredibly satisfying and very fun to see our hard work at the track each year!”
Many top engineering students engage in this technical competition because they want to collaborate with a team to build something highly complex and important not only to them but to the future of the world. Another perk of the competition is the chance to be scouted for an engineering job by top car manufacturers and other high-tech companies from across the country including Toyota, the official car and truck of NHMS, BAE, AVL and McLaren Applied Technologies.
“My network expanded significantly from being involved in this competition, which ultimately helped me get my foot in the door in the industry,” said Product Owner, Customer Engagement Analytics for General Motors Missy Chmielowiec, who is a Formula Hybrid + Electric alum and also serves as Head Project Management and Presentation judge for the competition. “It’s such a unique opportunity to be exposed to all aspects of a project lifecycle. Exposing yourself to finances, project management and marketing in addition to the technical challenges will help provide a well-rounded background.”
Similar to the Formula SAE® competition, students compete in aspects of design, acceleration, handling and endurance of their vehicle while abiding by rules that minimize risk and preserve students’ freedom to innovate. Formula Hybrid + Electric teams, however, are faced with the additional challenge of optimizing both energy efficiency and sustainability of materials used in their cars. As a result, Formula Hybrid + Electric is the only competition that requires a unique collaboration between mechanical engineers, electrical engineers and computer scientists in the planning and building of their cars.
While the pandemic forced the cancellation of the on-track event in 2020 and 2021, virtual events were held, and the static presentation events were held via Zoom. The Virtual Racing Challenge was added in 2021 and was held on iRacing’s NHMS road course. The in-person competition returned to NHMS in 2022.
In 2018, Formula Hybrid was awarded one of the most coveted prizes in engineering education, the ABET Innovation Award. Formula Hybrid became Formula Hybrid + Electric in 2020 to better reflect that although it started as a hybrid-only event, there have been hybrid and battery-electric classes since 2012.
For outside spectators, Wednesday, May 3 is the “most fun-filled” day to visit, according to Jessica Kinzie, the competition’s coordinating manager. The autocross and acceleration events run from 10 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. It’s also Formula Hybrid + Electric School Day for middle and high school students who enjoy guided tours with volunteers from the SCCA New England Section and other knowledgeable experts. For more information and a complete schedule, visit Formula-Hybrid.org.
Photo Courtesy: Formula Hybrid + Electric/Bill Gordon
|About Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth
Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth prepares leaders for a technology-driven world while solving pressing, real-world problems through research and entrepreneurship. Consistently ranked among the top colleges and universities for its commitment to teaching, Dartmouth is the first national research university to graduate a majority-female class of undergraduate engineers. For more information, visit Engineering.Dartmouth.edu.