The sportier side of electric vehicles

October 04, 2012 // By Robert Brand
Materials company Vacuumschmelze GmbH (VAC) is playing a part in the Formula Student Electric by supplying its new advanced alloy VACODUR 49 for performance-optimised electric motors. In partnership with AMK in Kirchheim, VAC is supporting three teams in this year's competition.

Performance is a key requirement of electric motors and generators which are used in many applications, most importantly for electric vehicles, and is paramount in all sectors of motor sports: from KERS in Formula 1 to hybrid solutions in Le Mans cars. The main goals are to push performance and innovation to their limits, targets which have been publicly achieved on the race track in recent years. In precise terms, the aim is to achieve maximum performance at minimum weight, i.e. to optimise power density. Ultimately, the central technological requirements remain virtually identical, despite variations in the economic framework conditions. Innovative optimised drive technologies are the key pillars of eMobility.

The technological challenges of this new form of mobility are clearly demonstrated by the Formula Student championship, a competition in which teams of students from universities all over the world design and build single-seater racing cars and race them at iconic locations such as Silverstone and Hockenheim. However, the winner is not automatically the first to cross the finishing line in an individual race, but the team that accumulates the best overall scores for design and racing performance, based on both economic and environmental considerations.

Tough conditions

A range of dynamic disciplines are designed to push the racing cars to their limits. They must compete in a variety of categories including Acceleration (maximum acceleration and speed in drag racing from a standing start), Skid Pan (maximum lateral acceleration on a circular skid pan) and Autocross & Endurance (maximum traction and agility on the circuit and endurance racing).

From its origins as a race for vehicles with combustion engines, Formula Student was expanded in 2010 to include vehicles with pure electric drives. The resultant rise in interest serves as a testament to the dynamic pace of development in eMobility itself; after only two years, Formula Student Electric now has 85 entrants from 25 countries. While the design and construction of the

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