April 2017 Update

With competition coming in around a week and a half, we have been working tirelessly to get CleanSpeed 3 assembled and working. Unfortunately, Votey Hall, our base of operations, is undergoing major renovations right now, which meant that last week we needed to move everything out of our shop. This set us back back, but the good news is that our vice president, Tom Hryckiewicz, had room available in his spacious garage, so we’ll be working out of there until competition.

Over the weekend we finished TIG welding over all of our bad MIG welds so that we could send the frame out to paint at Hazelett Strip Casting. They got it back to us the next day fully painted in the characteristic AERO green. We can’t thank the guys at Hazelett enough for all the work they do for us.

It’s green!

The other projects on the car are coming along as well. Our removable battery pack is nearly fully assembled—only the protective plastic top is left to finish. Yesterday we connected all six segments together and measured the overall pack at 112 volts. We also tested the Elektromotus battery management system, which worked first try without any finagling, allowing us to view voltages and temperatures of every cell in the pack. Lots of credit to Elektromotus here—their hardware and software is amazing. This BMS is orders of magnitude better than the one we’ve used with these cells before; I don’t know why we didn’t look into it sooner.

This is an older picture—a lot of progress has been made since it was taken.

As for the low voltage electronics, the CAN-based control system is almost finished; the majority of the remaining work is just tidying up wires and fixing a few software problems. The telemetry system is also nearly finished. It will allow us to record wheel speed and shock travel on each corner of the car, along with body roll, acceleration, and GPS data.

One of the biggest projects on this car from the very beginning was suspension. Our lead mechanical engineer, Greg Castaldi, has put an unbelievable amount of time and effort into designing a suspension system that is not only functionally impressive, but also visually impressive. The custom aluminum uprights were CNC machined by Tru Form Precision Manufacturing, and they look amazing. (The fact that they are anodized in gold certainly helps).

Rear upright in perfect, gold-anodized aluminum.

To go along with the uprights, Greg has been working with president Jack Thomae to CNC machine bell cranks and other aluminum suspension components. This is going to be one good looking suspension.

Lots of work still has to be done, but at this point it’s mostly just assembling everything into the frame and making sure it all meets the Formula Hybrid rules. The plan is to have enough of that work done to drive the car this weekend.

Fundraising Update

AERO was recently involved in a club fundraising competition run by the University of Vermont Foundation. There were two $1000 prizes on the table. The first of these was for getting the most student donors by the end of March, and the second was for getting the most donors overall by the end of March. It was a close race between us and the Dressage team, but with a last minute push we managed to pull ahead and get 125 donors by the end of the campaign. It seems we’ve found more definitive evidence that horsepower beats horses.


Link to fundraising campaign

We won the prize for most overall donors, and the Dressage team won the prize for most student donors (they only beat us by 5!). The money from this competition goes into our fundraising budget, which rolls over from year to year.

Thank you to everyone who donated to us. We are very grateful that there are so many people that want to see our club succeed.

What a Year

The UVM AERO team has had quite a busy year! After working hard for 18 months to complete the build of our promising hybrid design that won us design awards last year, we hit a wall with one of our manufacturers. As the deadline of competition loomed closer, we were left with almost no choice and unanimously decided to switch gears and start fresh. A little over a month and a half before we were due to leave for New Hampshire, we were beginning the design of an entirely new electric car.

We wanted to design a very simple car that would be a quick and easy build. Although this process was very stressful, most of our team would agree that this was our most successful endeavor in recent years. All of the dedicated team members truly stepped up and ensured that this new car would be built in time. Everyone on the team had their hands on all systems involved with the car, leading to an extraordinary learning experience  and thus a great level of preparation to design our next car.

At the 2016 Formula Hybrid competition UVM AERO placed 2nd in the all electric class against 15 other colleges. Along with this the IEEE Excellence in Electrical Vehicle Engineering Award also now has a nice place on our trophy shelf.  And to top it all off UVM AERO was the first and only team to complete all 44 km during the endurance race!

The team is looking forward to another amazing school year in hopes to bring an even better car to the Formula Hybrid Competition and win first place!

<uploads/2016/07/26764034091_05791a002b_o.jpg>

New School Year, New AERO

UVM AERO is back for the ’15-’16 school year and off to a great start. After a fantastic race and General Motor’s Second Place Design Award at the end of last year we spent the summer troubleshooting and identifying major goals for the coming school year. It was bittersweet to see so many active teammates graduate, but so far we have filled our roster with a number of new members and have already begun some exciting new projects. Thus far we have attended a number of local events, including the Champlain Mini-Maker Faire and the kickoff of UVM’s new fundraising campaign. Stop by the shop and see what has been going on this semester. Learn how you can get involved!

<uploads/2015/10/IMG_0101.jpg>

<uploads/2015/10/IMG_0085-e1444000075797.jpg>

 

Spring Break Update!

Well, its been about 4 months since our last post, and boy have we been busy! Our power electronics systems have been received and are happily spinning on a lab bench. The frame has gone through some major transformations. While it is no longer a shiny chromoly work of art, it is much better suited to holding all of its guts! Cooling, controls, and steering have made great progress, and so have the battery packs. Tires are mounted and the rims are all balanced thanks to Larry Munson at Munson Auto in Hinesburg, VT. We are on track to have the chassis rolling in about a week, with brakes and steering following closely after that.

What do you get when you add one week, lots of steel, a machine shop, and hundreds of man hours? This list. We managed to complete every item on this list in time to get them painted. Except pushrod mounting points on the lower front a-arms, that is.

<uploads/2015/03/pre-paint-crunch.jpg>

Newton was kind (and brave) enough to ferry the bare frame to our friends at for a bead blast and a coat of paint.

<uploads/2015/03/no-paint.jpg>

As always, the guys at Hazelett did an amazing job. Seriously, if Randy, Robert, or Albert are reading this, you guys are great! We definitely owe Albert a new pair of boots; they’re perpetually stained green because of us.

<uploads/2015/03/Fresh-Paint.jpg>

Keep an eye out for more updates as the competition gets closer!

Lots of News!

It’s been quite a while since we’ve updated this website, mainly because most of our work has been designing a car, meaning that we have had very little to show for it. UNTIL NOW!

<uploads/2014/11/DSC_0015.jpg>

Our frame has arrived! Designed by us and fabricated by Cartesian in Ontario, Canada, this frame will serve as the chassis for our latest hybrid vehicle, GreenSpeed 4. We’re thrilled with the job they did for us, and we can’t wait to start building it up. Unfortunately, that means that our welding skills will be put to shame when we add additional tubes and tabs.

<uploads/2014/11/10700106_10205099046984709_8573918573908914103_o.jpg>

They told us that it was the largest FSAE frame they’ve ever built, and we believe them: it seats nine!

<uploads/2014/11/seats-9.jpg>

We’ve also been getting other parts in, like our KTM SXF 250 engine. KTM wouldn’t sell us just the engine, so we acquired an entire bike, and tore it to shreds. The engine and its support systems will be transplanted into GreenSpeed 4, and we’ve found a new home for the rolling chassis that we left behind. Our 36 new horses will make it so that we no longer need to carry an airhorn to clear traffic when test driving on campus.

We’re not just leaving that engine stock, where’s the fun in that!? A Rekluse clutch is being fitted to our KTM engine to make life a little easier for our control systems guys. The people at Rekluse were awesome, and modified one of their stock clutches to work with GreenSpeed 4!

<uploads/2014/11/10410604_10202828665547528_6901618559271132793_n.jpg>

<uploads/2014/11/10606034_10202828667267571_6709931531837491986_n.jpg>

Things are heating up over in Votey, stay tuned for updates!

Post Competition 2014

After a few very busy weeks, we finally have some competition results to share! For the second year in a row, we placed second in the all electric class at the Formula Hybrid International Competition which earned us second place overall. We were also awarded the IEEE award for Excellence in Electrical Vehicle Engineering.

<uploads/2014/05/IMG_20140501_171656.jpg>

We were the first team to make it through all of the technical inspections, including making it through electrical tech inspection on our first try, thanks to the monumental efforts of Andrew Giroux. In addition to being the first to pass tech, we were the only team to be ready to drive for each event during its scheduled time, even though most events ended up being extended in an effort to allow more teams to drive.

We would like to thank our generous sponsors, including UVM’s Clean Energy Fund, Hazelett Strip Casting Corporation, Dassault Systemes, and Manzanita Micro Power Systems for their generous contributions to our team and Dartmouth College, IEEE, SAE, Ford, Chrysler, and General Motors for making this competition possible.

<uploads/2014/05/team-pic-2014.jpg>

For more detailed results and scores, see the Formula Hybrid Website.

Formula Hybrid Competition Blog
Formula Hybrid Flickr Gallery