Practical Electrified Vehicle Engineering

Last night at Formula Hybrid, Professor Charlie Sullivan of Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth presented his new course, Practical Electrified Vehicle Engineering, to a group of educators and automotive industry professionals. Sullivan said the new course, which aims to bridge the gap between system design and technical skills, could eventually become more widely available as a modular online course.

Dartmouth Professor Charlie Sullivan & Formula Hybrid official Ricky Willems.

Dartmouth Professor Charlie Sullivan talks with Formula Hybrid official Ricky Willems after his presentation.

“Rather than just laying out the rules, we’re looking at, what’s the engineering basis for them?” Sullivan explained. “We’re developing people who have a deeper understanding of that.”

Students learn not only about the operation of circuits and how to design and optimize systems, but also practical skills in construction and safety around high-voltage.

One presentation attendee from an automotive manufacturer said areas of electric vehicle development that are often viewed in the automotive industry as “black magic” include electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) and electromagnetic interference (EMI), as well as the thermal management aspects. Manufacturers often outsource work in those areas, he said.

Sullivan discussed the course and its materials with other educators who attended the talk and compared notes on the way Formula Hybrid teams are set up at the various institutions that compete. Some FH programs are strictly voluntary and set up as clubs; other schools offer credit for certain aspects of the vehicle design and construction. One professor explained that his students are given an exam on the Formula Hybrid rules.

Sullivan said he was open to additional feedback about the course content and format. He also touted the new textbook being used in the course, Electric Powertrain: Energy Systems, Power Electronics and Drives for Hybrid, Electric and Fuel Cell Vehicles. The book’s author, John G. Hayes, attended the presentation and offered a discount code for the book.

RIT Hot Wheelz makes it onto the track

After facing some unexpected technical difficulties, Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT Hot Wheelz) was able to reach — and exceed — their goal of completing at least one lap around the Endurance Event track. Their “unofficial” exhibition endurance run in fact totaled close to 20 laps. Congrats RIT!

Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT Hot Wheelz)

Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT Hot Wheelz) heading to the Endurance Event track

Wednesday Results: Autocross And Acceleration

After an exciting day of testing, tilting, braking, accelerating, and weaving through the autocross course, the teams all gathered with their cars on the track for the group photo. (Which should be posted to the Formula Hybrid flickr shortly:

But before that, all the teams worked hard to get cleared to race their cars. Only four teams were successful in passing all of the rigorous safety checks and tests in order to race. There were two electric cars, UVM Aero and Dartmouth Formula Racing, as well as two hybrids, Yale Bulldog Racing and Lawrence Tech Blue Devils Racing. 

The acceleration event was exhilarating, with UVM topping Dartmouth in the Electric acceleration. UVM ran the 75 meters in 5.604s, with Dartmouth clocking in at 6.181. Yale tore up the track with a 5.28, which was the fastest run of the day. Lawrence Tech followed with a 5.982 for their hybrid racecar.


The autocross was also exciting. Both the electrical cars had some problems, with Dartmouth Formula Racing overheating their batteries just before the finish line, and UVM Aero running out of charge on their last run. UVM still took the race with a 54.14s time, Dartmouth close behind coming in at 56.14s. 


Yale topped the field again in the autocross with a blistering time of 49.2s. Lawrence Tech followed with a 63s run. 


Tomorrow, starting at 1 will be the endurance event. Stay tuned for tweeting coming from @formula_hybrid and live streaming at


4 Teams Cleared to Race

Yale Bulldogs Racing, Dartmouth Formula Hybrid, University of Vermont Aero, and Lawrence Tech Blue Devil Racing have all passed the inspections necessary for them to race. The tests are comprehensive, and include a mechanical inspection, electrical inspection, a tilt test, an egress test (to see how fast the drivers can exit the vehicle), a fuel test, and a braking test. After a team passes all of these tests they are cleared to race. 


Above: Lawrence Tech undergoes mechanical inspection




Yale Bulldogs Racing after passing the brake test




After passing each of the required tests, the car is given a signed sticker. After passing all tests, the car body receives the full 2013, signifying it is ready to race. 




Dartmouth Formula Racing on the test track