The sun beats down on stands and pit lane while the helpers push the compact racing cars to the starting line: racing fever has the Hockenheimring in its grip. Then the start flag drops and an electric racing car sprints over the asphalt with a powertrain that buzzes like an insect. The small one-seater takes less than three seconds to cover the 75 metres of track. Cheers for the team that planned, financed and built the racing car. The sprint is one of eight disciplines that are judged at the Formula Student Germany (FSG) competition. Apart from driving dynamics, good design, solid financing and a convincing presentation of the business plan are also reviewed. The FSG has been in existence for internal combustion engines since 2006. The category for electric vehicles was added five years ago.
In August 2015, the constructors’ competition for future engineers and for students of other academic fields was held for the tenth time. Among them were also 12 teams that had successfully applied for financial sponsoring and technical support from Daimler. “We have been involved in the Formula Student Germany for many years,” says Dr Anna-Maria Karl, Head of Global Talent Sourcing at Daimler AG, “because it is the ideal platform to enter into an exchange with the automotive engineers of tomorrow.” The participating university teams each comprise up to 40 young women and men who study different subjects. They work hand in glove in developing their vehicles, working out the business plan, soliciting money from sponsors and in public relations. Despite a densely packed curriculum, they are strongly committed.
The results are fascinating racing car designs as well as good contacts to potential employers. This is already ensured by the practical cooperation with mentors from companies in the automotive and the supplier industry. In addition, other employees of these companies work as judges at the finale of the competition and at the same time the marques set up booths to make contact with potential young talents. The students have different emphases depending on their academic studies. The team from Bergakademie Freiberg, a mining school, uses magnesium because of their metallurgic expertise — and plans to use it to build the entire monocoque in 2016 for the first time. This is possible because the rules allow a wide variety of materials and solutions. After all, the teams are supposed to demonstrate how they achieve convincing results using the possibilities of scientific engineering. Equal opportunity is primarily ensured by the technical parameters for the engine.
amazing race cars, useful contacts
In this regard, the subject of electric mobility is increasingly gaining in importance in the FSG. Since 2010, when electrically powered racing cars started for the first time, their numbers have been growing steadily — this year, 39 electric racing cars finished in the standings. Their motors are powered by a battery, usually with 600 volts. The energy consumption is limited to 80 kilowatts. Depending on the design, a single motor provides the propulsion, which in that case conceptually takes the place of the internal combustion engine. However, more and more frequently the vehicles are equipped with two or four wheel-hub motors.
cars with two or four wheel hub motors
Daimler has been promoting the innovation culture of electric mobility for six years by awarding the “Best E-Drive Packaging Award”. It honours the convincing integration and layout of the electric powertrain in the racing car — because the range, shortest possible charging time and the driving dynamics all depend on that.