Formula Hybrid Hits the Track
Under President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) established national car program standards for model years through 2025. These standards are projected to cut six billion metric tons of greenhouse gas over the lifetimes of the vehicles sold, save Americans more than $1.7 trillion in fuel costs, and reduce the nation’s dependence on oil by more than two million barrels per day.
While consumers await vehicles that deliver the savings, auto manufacturers are hustling to meet the demands for fuel efficiency. That means research programs have kicked innovation into high gear—and so have the ambitious students of Formula Hybrid.
The 2015 Formula Hybrid competition begins next week at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, New Hampshire. The competition features high-performance hybrid and electric race cars built by teams of university students from around the world.
The competition is framed within an open-wheel race car venue much like Formula One, but the outcomes have an impact well beyond the scope of racing and entertainment. Students work on engineering solutions that move modern-day vehicles into greater fuel efficiencies that don’t compromise performance—exactly what consumers are hungry for.
The Formula Hybrid competition was established nearly a decade ago and is run by the Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth College, New Hampshire. Aspects of the competition include design, acceleration, handling, and vehicle endurance. Students must abide by an extensive list of rules, and are faced with the additional challenge of optimizing both energy efficiency and sustainability of materials used in their cars. In recent years, organizers have even introduced a project management element into the competition, and incorporated a mentoring program that connects teams with automotive professionals.
“The Formula Hybrid competition is a great opportunity for young people who are interested in future careers in the automotive industry,” said Kristen Lestock, director of communications at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. “I have witnessed top automotive manufacturers on property checking out the talent in the garages and offering jobs to students on the spot. This competition is fun and educational and we love hosting it at (the) Speedway.”
Because fuel efficiency is often linked to reduced overall weight, modern composite materials like carbon fiber are often used as part of Formula Hybrid vehicle designs. Carbon fiber meets automotive strength requirements at only a fraction of the weight. Fibre Glast Developments is proud to be a recent sponsor of the Formula Hybrid competition. We are looking forward to great innovation and effective new uses for composite materials in the future of automotive. Our best of luck to the teams!
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