Since four days I’ve been attending third edition of the Formula Student Electric (FSE) competition that is taking place at the Hockenheimring in Germany. The electric race cars that students from all over the world have built and are racing here are in my opinion the most advanced electric race cars in the world. These guys and girls are not only engineering our future, they are engineering the present.
The bandwidth of quality in the teams is wide, but the top teams are venturing into unknown territory with their lightweight, battery powered, 4 wheel drive, software enhanced, electric vehicles. Just to give one example: though torque vectoring (a hot topic with Red Bull Racing recently) the teams claim that over and understeer are things of the past. Their software makes real time adjustments to the torque on every wheel to force the car into any corner.
The teams have been designing their cars from the ground up for electric racing, and with great effect. The character of the design competition makes that many different concepts are being tested and the development curve of the entire field is very steep. In the Formula Student competition for conventional cars the winning concepts have been determined. Every year more or less the same vehicles appear at the start, providing good learning for the students, but nowhere nearly as exciting and as important as the FSE cars’ developments. The Conventional designs based on the internal combustion engine (ICE) are at the end of their S curve, whereas the electric class is just getting started. We are in for a very exciting development ride!
Today and tomorrow are the dynamic events so I’m really looking forward to seeing the vehicles in action. I’ll be posting some more photo’s of the vehicles in action later on. We saw some testing already and that looks very promising. Especially the acceleration of the Electric vehicles is awesome. And it’s is also very interesting listen to the electric cars in alternation with the combustion cars. I think the sound of the EV’s is super, especially since they are moving so fast and are handling so agile. I spoke with one of the students that is the driver of two cars, both ICE and and EV and he preferred the EV because of the long and powerful acceleration boost he got every time. When I asked him about the sound whether he didn’t miss the sound in the EV he replied; “F**k the sound, give me the acceleration!” You’ve got to love these guys.