This year, we’re once again glad to be sponsoring the Formula Electric Belgium team: a project in which engineering students around the world compete to design, build, and ultimately race with the best electric race car. The prize? A cool trophy, but mostly lots of new knowledge and friendships!
The Formula Electric Belgium team, consisting of 48 students, is building its 13th car. What does the team look like, and how far along are they in building their car?
In this series, Remko (team manager), Wouter (electronics team), Simon (vehicle dynamics), Felix (vehicle dynamics), Karel (aerodynamics) and Ward (composites) talk about their experiences in the Formula Electric Belgium team!
Last but not least: Simon and Felix in the vehicle dynamics team. What do they think of the postgraduate program Formula Electric Belgium, what are their biggest challenges, and what are they most proud of so far?
2 industrial engineers in the vehicle dynamics team.
Simon and Felix are both industrial engineers. They work together in Formula Electric Belgium’s vehicle dynamics team. In other words, they work on everything that determines the behaviour of the car. Think, for example, of the suspension and the steering behaviour, but also the algorithms, the traction and the launch control.
Simon: “We’re also responsible for the testing days once the car is finished. During these days, we test the car and look for an optimal set-up for our camber, caster and toe angles. The goal is to get the largest amount of power possible in certain situations.”
You can compare what we’re making to a go-kart on steroids.
why formula electric?
“The immense challenge that this project entails, attracted me to it. Building a racecar in only 9 months time is a big deal”, Felix laughs.
Simon even feels that he had underestimated the work a bit. “Luckily, it doesn’t feel like work”, he says. “I’m extremely motivated to get it right, so it doesn’t bother me that I have to invest a lot of time in it. Some weeks we work up to 60 or 70 hours, because our deadlines have to be met.”
When I graduated last year, I felt like a competent engineer, but I still felt there was something missing in the bigger picture. I found that missing piece in Formula Electric.
assembling everything in CAD for the first time.
We asked Felix and Simon about their favourite moment in the entire project up until now. For Felix, this was when the team assembled everything in CAD for the first time: “When we assembled everything and noticed that it all looked good, I was quite relieved.”
Simon also feels this is the moment he’s most proud of so far: “It’s extremely difficult to work on a car with 20 people at the same time. Of course, we define design spaces for each department, but still sometimes there are things that don’t completely match, or that have to change once we start with the power simulation. This all went smoothly, so that’s something we can be proud of!”
learning about technology, and about yourself.
Felix: “Formula Electric Belgium is such a cool project. I’ve learned a lot about technology here, but also about myself. After only 1 semester, I have a much better outlook on what I want to do in my life, than I thought I did when I got my master’s diploma.”
Simon agrees: “What’s more, I believe I will be able to start on my master’s thesis much quicker than my classmates who haven’t participated in the postgraduate program. Formula Electric has taught me how to deal with things hands-on.”
Would you like to know what else Simon and Felix had to say? Watch the complete interview!