The student formula racing team of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras has developed its first electric racing car and is planning to use it in competitions against top engineering colleges in India and other countries.
Developed by a team comprising 45 students from different departments, the new electric car, RF23, is expected to offer a significant upgrade in terms of speed and lap time as compared to the internal combustion (IC) engine-based previous model. The team said it took them a year to design, manufacture and test the car.
The team is planning to use it at the Formula Bharat event which is expected to take off in January 2023 at the Kari Motor Speedway in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu. After which, they are planning to take it to the Formula Student Germany (FSG) racing event in August to compete against global student teams.
“Our primary focus is to build a safe, sustainable, and reliable electric vehicle,” said Karthik Karumanchi, captain of IIT Madras' Team Raftar. Karumanchi further said that the team looked at the issues faced by the industry and realised that they needed proper thermal management of the battery, a robust data logging and visualisation interface, and a highly accurate estimator for the battery pack.
“We based our project on finding solutions to these problems and incorporated them into RFR 23,” added Karumanchi.
The team said that it divided its members into eight smaller groups to focus on specific sub-systems including aerodynamics, frame and composites, vehicle dynamics, drivetrain, accumulator (or battery systems), high voltage, low voltage, and cooling systems.
“The shift from combustion to electric vehicles was just as drastic as it was necessary, keeping in line with the global trend of moving towards sustainable transportation. With the global electric vehicle industry still in its nascent state, the potential for growth and technological advancement in this arena is huge,” said V. Kamakoti, Director of IIT Madras.
Further, the IIT Madras team said it is planning to develop a driverless race car by 2025 and participate in the ‘driverless category’ of Formula Student racing events.