Our 2020 vehicle is the culmination of almost 5 years of research and development into the best possible electric car for the Formula-SAE competitions. After a close competition in 2019 where we placed second overall, our 2020 board of directors were tasked with a very difficult decision as to the future of UQ Racing’s internal combustion vehicles. After a long history of racing as a two-car team, one IC and one EV, the team decided that a honed focus on one incredible electric car would be sure to exceed all previous years’ successes, and ensure a number one victory at FSAE-A.
Unfortunately, with great expectations comes great lows as we were forced to rethink our initial direction that relied so heavily on competing in various competitions throughout the year. The excitement did not dwindle for our team though, as we have opted to mostly continue with this year’s planned design and manufacturing timeline despite the lack of an official competition.
The only difference between this and any other year is a more relaxed timeline, allowing our team to spend more time developing various elements on the car. An example of this is our aerodynamics package which typically takes months to manufacture, and as such requires a substantial amount of simulation to ensure a high quality final product - there are no do-overs when the timeline restricts our ‘design, build, test’ phases to less than 365 days. The relaxed timeline allows our team to extend these phases, increasing the hours spent simulating various models of the car, allowing for more difficult manufacturing methods. This effectively doubles the time we can spend testing the car with various track types and control settings.
We are now also putting an emphasis on documentation, as this year will see many of our older members graduating. The risk of knowledge loss this year is great and as such, many of our members are dedicating hours towards documenting designs, manufacturing techniques and outcomes, and validation work.
Although FSAE-A is officially cancelled, SAE-A has begun developing non-official dynamic and static events with hope for a competition in early December. As well as this, many of the Queensland teams are planning to develop their own state competition in the event that inter-state travel is not possible by the end of the year. However the feasibility of any competitions taking place this year is still being evaluated.
The team is very excited for what this year will bring, regardless of the status of any competition. In 2020, we will share all of our successes with our readers; every bit of the design and manufacture, and especially when our testing phase begins.