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!
This year, 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!
This week, Wouter is happy to tell us all about his adventures in the electronics team.
not quite ready for the job market yet.
“Last year, I graduated as an industrial engineer”, Wouter tells us. “But at that moment, I didn’t feel like I was ready for the job market just yet. I had worked student jobs that were in line with my engineering studies, but something was still missing. And then I discovered Formula Electric: the perfect project between my studies and the job market!”
“I was looking for some more practical experience. I like creating tangible things. And that’s how I started as a low-voltage engineer in the Formula Electric Belgium electronics team.”
the electronics team is without a doubt the best team.
Wouter: “There’s 2 other people in my team: the chief engineer and the high-voltage engineer. The chief engineer keeps an eye on our tasks, places the orders and keeps in touch with all our suppliers. The high-voltage engineer is responsible for the car’s battery.”
“As low-voltage engineer, I am responsible for every system in the car that runs on low-voltage: for example the dashboard, the sensor nodes, the wiring …”
“I have a lot of responsibility in my role, but also lots of freedom”, Wouter continues. “If I notice that a certain process can be improved, I can make the decision to implement that improvement. As long as I can defend my reasons for it, and show good intermediary results. I like this way of working.”
“I’m glad that I am part of the electronics department, because I am convinced that this is the best team of all of Formula Electric Belgium”, Wouter laughs.
I was looking for some more practical experience. And that’s how I started as a low-voltage engineer in the Formula Electric Belgium electronics team.
stem courses reimagined.
“Another one of our team’s goals is teaching STEM courses to secondary school students”, Wouter tells us. “We want to give those students a little preview of the wonderful world of engineering.”
“The last couple of years, our STEM package has always consisted of a course of 1,5 hours: it was a little dry. We wanted to mix it up - our goal was to make the students at least as passionate about engineering as we are!”
“To reach this goal, every department came up with an experiment of about 10 to 15 minutes, that shows what they do on a daily basis. We start out with a short presentation on Formula Electric Belgium, and then the students can carry out the 6 practical experiments themselves. They get some practical insights in how an electric race car is built. The first try-outs were a big success!”
putting your foot on the accelerator for the first time.
Wouter: “Last semester, I spent a lot of time behind my desk, designing circuit boards. The first semester is typically a semester of meetings and plans. Now the second semester is starting, we can kick off the practical part of the project. In the following months, our desks will be empty and our workshop will be full. Everyone’s priority right now is assembling the car!”
“My circuit boards have gone into production, and lots of other materials have started to come in. I am ready for the assembly!”
“I’m already looking forward to the moment when we put our foot on the accelerator and hear the sound of the engines for the first time. That’s the cherry on top: seeing that the car we have built actually works!”
“And that’s the tip I also want to give to future Formula Electric students: keep going, even if you are facing a problem that you don’t understand just yet. A race car isn’t built in 10 minutes in a shed in your backyard - but you have an entire team and your studies to fall back on, so keep thinking of creative solutions and you’ll get there!”