A new year has started and it is time to introduce our technical subteams. Who are they and what are their tasks and goals for this year.
The Structural sub-team is responsible for building the body of the car. This includes the shell, the rib structure inside the car, and the suspension. That last part is done in collaboration with the Drivetrain sub-team. The aerodynamics of the body of the car has already been optimised, so we will mainly focus on the internals of the body and the materials to make it as sturdy and as light as possible.
One of our goals this year will be to make the components inside the car more accessible, which was a problem during the race last year. Furthermore, we will make sure the car does not bend when someone sits in the car. This will be done as smart as possible, such that no extra weight is created. Our last goal will be to consider all elements of the car in more detail to save weight per component and to create a lighter car.
The Drivetrain sub-team will be responsible for the power delivery from the motors to the wheels. This encompasses the gear reduction from the electromotors, the suspension and steering mechanism, as well as mounting these various components to the body of the car.
The mission of our sub-team is to increase the efficiency of the drivetrain. Some major improvements we will be aiming for is increasing driver comfort, as well as increasing reliability and reducing complexity. Besides this, we continue to develop systems for us to verify and test various mechanical components of the car, both artificial and real-world performance. This year we aim to improve the testbench, to increase the accuracy of the testing method. This will increase our understanding of the gearbox and allows us to further optimize the design.
This year’s Hydro-Electric sub-team will keep itself occupied with the heart of the car: the hydrogen fuel cell, and all of the electronics managing and storing the power coming from the cell.
Last year the Hydro-Electric sub-team aimed to make the system more reliable and decent. This year will be all about optimisation of that system: making the systems more efficient whilst maintaining their reliability. This is a huge challenge since this involves a deep understanding of what is happening in the car. It is, however, a challenge we are looking forward to taking up. Currently, we are up to date with the systems of the car and we have started working on the first projects of the year. These involve optimisation of the fuel cell inlet air parameters and the powerconsumtion of the electric circuits.
The Strategy sub-team will mainly be focusing on the driving strategy this year. A driving strategy tells you when to brake and when to accelerate, or, for example, how to drive corners. However, the Shell Eco-Marathon is not about speed but about efficiency. This results in that the driving strategy choices become less intuitive. To find the best driving strategies for the most efficient race, the existing optimization model will be expanded. This model determines the optimal moment for accelerating and braking resulting in minimal fuel consumption.
This year’s main focus will be on developing a real-time driving strategy: a driving strategy which can be adapted during the race. This can be very helpful during the race, because when one deviates from the original driving strategy due to whatever reason, the existing driving strategy becomes useless.