Now that the Formula Student European series has wrapped up for 2016, its time to recap with a summary of each Swedish Formula Student teams season. We have featured one team per day during this week. This has been an opportunity for SVEA members to understand not only the projects themselves, but also how the teams spread out over Sweden and how each have approached and achieved in their own way.
Our fifth and final entry of the week is KTH Formula Student (KTH FS) of the Royal University of Technology, who are based in Sweden’s capital city Stockholm. KTH FS chose to compete at the Formula Electric competition in Italy and, having been the first Swedish team to complete all events at a competition in an electric vehicle in 2015, they started the year with the ingredients for success. With a 7th place overall at the competition in 2016 they seemingly delivered, however they left Italy feeling there was much more potential from their solution. We speak to the 2015/16 driveline lead Patrik Ringdahl and the 2017 project leader Erik Nilsson who take us through the year to explain why they are aiming to extract more for 2017.
Patrik explains how the project starts each year “the management crew meets to discuss last year’s achievements, where improvements can be made and what kind of new technology we wish to implement. We then set better defined, physical, measurable goals for individual sub systems or even parts.” An important point – a core of all engineering work is that quantifiable targets should be understood, developed and seen as the end goal. “A rough packaging plan is made as early as possible and together with the delivery of suspension hard points the chassis can take shape very quickly.” I note that KTH FS appears to dive quite quickly towards their desired concept and Patrik adds that it is a good way for them to maximise their focus “After the larger conceptual and design decisions are made, our focus is on small adjustments and compromises that need to be made to accommodate the accumulator and powertrain with all other sub-systems adapted to fit the most preferable solution.”
A successful design period over, we continue to the manufacturing period and it is one area that Patrik and Erik agree requires improvement for 2017. Erik explains “A delayed manufacturing process led us to compete with just one testing session under the team’s belt.” The delay had a large impact and Patrik, who had a lot of contact with the various sponsors to KTH FS elaborates further “some outsourced parts took longer than anticipated with previous sponsors deciding either to support us with less or nothing at all. On the plus side, we did manage to secure some strategically important deals, like manufacturing complex parts of our gearbox.” That’s a positive development for 2017, having a key sponsor in an important area of electric vehicle development.
We agree that these delays are something that will also happen in their eventual roles in the vehicular industry, so despite the effect on the project there has been a lot of positive learning experience. But how did these delays affect the next phase in the project - testing “we completed just one testing session before running at the competition. This meant limited set-up work and driver training” explained Patrik, which is a tough situation to be in. Erik however highlighted the performance of the car “it had a good performance on the first shakedown test which meant that the design was well thought through. At the competition, we were among the quickest teams in the autocross event (this tests the lateral and longitudinal performance of the vehicle over a single lap of a 805m circuit) despite the lack of testing.”
So going forward into 2017 what have the team learned and what do they have planned. Erik explains “Only about 20% of the car will be completely re-designed as opposed to previous years where almost everything in the car faced a complete overhaul and therefore we can focus more on testing. Beyond this year our project will take sensible steps forwards with focus on learning and developing so that we make improvements each year” and those are important words as it is easy to forget amidst the discussions surrounding competitions and achievements that this is an education project preparing the vehicular engineers of tomorrow.
While discussing the issue of delays that KTH FS experienced Patrik had some words that struck me as upbeat about the situation “All the new connections at different companies has shown me how small a country Sweden really is. In this industry everyone is like a family, no matter where you go and who you meet you will always have several contacts in common” Patrik has pointed out an something important, that we are a small country but our vehicular industry has a wide reaching impact worldwide.
Thanks to competitions like Formula Student supported throughout the world by SVEA and its partner organisations, we are able to guarantee the continued supply of world leading vehicular engineers to the industry who shall constantly develop and innovate the technology we produce. We at SVEA believe that is a very positive note to end the Formula Fika series on.
Front track: 1100mm
Rear Track: 1080mm
Tubular steel chassis 35.5kg
Carbonfiber seat designed from driver mold.
Vacuum formed ABS plastic bodywork.
Water-jet cut pedal assembly.
Total weight: 219kg
6.3kWh battery, 567V, 270 Li-Po cells, own design BMS (Battery Monitoring System)
24V LV system
More than 270 sensors on the car
One EMRAX 207 motor on each rear wheel. 160kW peak 40kW continues.
Limited to 80kW by competition
Own design planetary gearboxes, ratio 3.727, max output torque 2x 550 Nm.