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Worth the Wait: CMU Team earns first place win at Formula Hybrid after 8-year absence from competition

Posted: June 17, 2022

Who says you can’t go home?

Carnegie Mellon University returned to SAE International’s Formula Hybrid for the first time in eight years, coming out on top of the electric class over a field of 18 competitors at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in May.

“This accomplishment means a lot to our team, as this is our first time returning to formula hybrid since 2014 and was a great learning experience for us as this was the first competition for a majority of the team onsite,” Daniel Zhu said on behalf of the CMU team.

The Formula Hybrid Competition is an interdisciplinary design and engineering challenge for undergraduate and graduate university students. Teams must collaboratively design and build a formula-style electric or plug-in hybrid racecar and compete in a series of events. This educational competition emphasizes drivetrain innovation and fuel efficiency in a high-performance application.

While preparing for competition, CMU faced some challenges, but pressed on to competition.

“Due to discrepancies in SSOK, TSAL/HV, insulation and aero bounding box size, we had to completely redesign some of our electrical systems and were unfortunately unable to bring our front and rear wings,” said Zhu. “We felt that these complexities were worth enduring, as it would give our team a second competition to gain experience on - especially when considering the vast majority of us had never attended one before.”

Despite the challenges, their efforts paid off and the CMU team will return to SAE competition, bringing their full aero package to Formula SAE in Michigan June 15-18.