designs, builds, and races an electric formula-style car to compete in the annual Formula SAE compet

UBC Formula Electric is a team of engineering students at the University of British Columbia that designs, builds, and races an electric formula-style car to compete in the annual Formula SAE competition (// The team currently has over 50 members with a strong background in power electronics and electric vehicles – we were the first team to drive across Canada in an electric car in 2010 and last year we converted a 1963 Volkswagen Beetle into an electric drag racing car with a 120V, 2400A lithium-ion battery.


Formula SAE is an international competition against universities from around the world. Last year over 80 teams took part in the race in Nebraska, USA. As one of the new teams developing a fully electric drivetrain for our vehicle, we design all of our own PCBs for battery management, motor control, CAN communication, and various other uses. This is our first year taking part in the competition, so we are designing the entire car from the ground up.


In addition to designing and building our car, we are also very active within the local community. We hold events and meeting with university and high school students to educate them about electric vehicles and engineering, which generates a lot of exposure for our sponsors too!

A.     Project Introduction:


We are building an electric formula-style race car to compete in Formula SAE 2017. The car must comply with 600+ pages of rules and must be designed around performance. The competition tests for acceleration, cornering ability, as well as a 21km endurance race. The vehicle must be light, strong, and fast. Furthermore, we are required to build an entirely new vehicle every year for each new race, so our designs are constantly being improved.





B.      Project Details

Our car is powered by a 300V, 5.8kWh LiFePo4 battery and two brushless DC motors, which are capable of producing over 80kW. Each motor can be controlled individually for traction control and torque vectoring, which improves the handling of the car. The chassis is made from steel with fiberglass spoilers to increase downforce.


On the electrical side, we have already designed PCBs for our own battery management system, our Drive Control Module (the central computer for the car), as well as two lights (a brake light and a high-voltage warning light). We are currently testing CAN bus communication between the different PCBs around the car and will be designing more boards for data collection and gathering (wheel speed, steering angle, and temperature). We have also finished testing our lithium-ion cells and assembled our battery enclosure.


The design phase of the car is complete and we will be starting assembly this summer. Testing will begin in November 2016 and the race is in June 2017. During this year, we will be bringing the car to various engineering events to show our progress to the public.


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Sep 13,2016
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