Ever since the first car was invented back in 1886, the automotive sector has transformed many lives, and none more so than that of us from NITKRacing. Most of the team members are racing enthusiasts, and we can all solemnly swear that there’s nothing sweeter in this world than the roar and purr of a revving internal combustion engine.

Yet, with the rising global scrutiny towards carbon emissions, even we have to accept the fact that electric vehicles and hybrid cars are poised to be a huge part of the future of next generation cars. That there is a more environmentally-friendly path we can take, which has its own share of challenges and excitement. The Formula Student community as a whole as well has been showing a gradual tendency, in-line with the global consensus, to shift towards more renewable and sustainable forms of energy.
Thus begins the story of our new Formula Student Electric team, NITKRacing Electric, a culmination of all these factors and our desire to take a step towards the future-

The New Dynamic

Of course, the CV (Combustion Vehicle) team will continue to exist and progress as well. Both the EV (Electric Vehicle) and CV team will be working on their own projects, helping each other and sharing resources whenever needed. Having two teams under NITKRacing is of course a new situation we’re facing, and we’ll be doing our best to figure out the dynamic and work efficiently. 

The Nitty Gritty

NITKRacing Electric, based on the building blocks of the car, has been divided into 5 major subsystems.

-Electric Powertrain:

The muscle, the force that pushes our car -the electric motor and the coupled transmission. 

-Battery and BMS: 

In this subsystem we deal with the design and manufacturing of the Lithium cell based accumulator. A bare lithium Ion battery is anything but safe. Thus, to ensure safety and reliability a Battery Management System(BMS) is coupled with the bare battery to make it safe and ensure reliability and longevity. 

-LV electronics and control systems: 

At LV electronics and control systems, we deal with the Low Voltage (LV) control and safety electronics. Most accumulators have an output voltage of over 100V DC, which coupled with high power density of the accumulators can prove to be very dangerous in any accident-like situation. Thus to ensure that the safety of the driver is not compromised, this subsystem plays an important role. Apart from safety electronics, the subsystem also deals with the control systems of the car starting from the driver’s interface to motor power curve tuning. 

-Vehicle dynamics: 

This subsystem ensures that the car behaves and controls the way it is expected to. The complete suspension system design along with the design of the braking is managed by our vehicle dynamics subsystem. 

-Chassis and bodywork: 

This subsystem ensures all the parts are put together in the most optimal way so that the car both performs and looks good. Apart from the chassis,the aero package, responsible for all the aerodynamic downforce, is also taken care of by here.

The first steps

At the time of writing, we are almost done with the recruitment process for NITKRacing Electric, and are looking forward to taking on fresh faces and talent. With this being our first attempt at building an electric formula-style car our goal right now is to gain the maximum amount of knowledge and experience before starting work on building a  physical car. To that end we have decided to participate in this year’s Formula Student Electric Vehicle (FSEV) Concept Challenge. This is an initiative by Formula Bharat to (in their own words):

  • Provide a platform for Indian students interested in building an FS Electric Vehicle to compete in India.
  • Assist teams with mentors who will be able to guide them through the process of designing and manufacturing an FS Electric Vehicle.
  • Provide interested teams considering the electric category in Formula Bharat 2022 with a 2 year lead to design their vehicle, procure resources, manufacture the prototype and gain testing time.
  • Improve the level of Indian FS Electric teams to the Global Formula Student competition level.

The event is being held online due to present circumstances the world is facing. We certainly don’t expect everything to go smoothly for us either. Yet with this as our starting block, we intend to do much and more in the future, building our legacy bit by bit.

NITKRacing is the Formula Student team of NITK, Surathkal.