UWindsor team finishes 4th in Electric Vehicle Grand Prix

Building two electric vehicles from the ground up takes patience and teamwork.

A group of mechanical and electrical engineering students can attest to this after spending the last four months in the shop designing and creating two electric go-karts, which later competed in the Electric Vehicle Grand Prix in Indianapolis on May 17-18.

“It was incredible to have 19 people on our team working together,” said Marcus Boin, the UWindsor EVGP team’s head of design. “It felt like more than just a team project. We worked really hard, but had fun too.”

The winner was determined based on a combination of position at the end of the race, efficiency, design and outreach to the community. UWindsor tied for third in the outreach and design categories and placed fourth in energy efficiency and fifth in the actual race, snagging a fourth place finish overall. The second UWindsor vehicle tied for first in the design category and finished 13th overall.

The group of fourth-year students was the only Canadian team to compete in the 2016 EVGP — a collegiate event that pits teams from universities from as far away as England against each other using electric-powered go-karts.

“I'm pleased that our mechanical and electrical students had an opportunity to compete in Indianapolis again this year,” said the EVGP team’s faculty advisor, Dr. Jennifer Johrendt. “They've managed to learn a lot about vehicle electrification in a short time.”

The team experimented with electrification by creating one vehicle powered by alternating current (AC) and the other by direct current (DC).

“Most car companies have designed AC driven electric vehicles in recent years, so we wanted to be at the forefront of EV technology,” said Brandon Benvenuto, the team’s project leader.

Both vehicles had to complete 50 laps on a one-third mile track at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and endure rough racing conditions while travelling up to 50 miles per hour. The team plans on taking what they learned from their experience at EVGP 2016 to continue to optimize the karts and test them at a local go-kart track this summer.

"It’s been great learning about what it takes to apply the knowledge you learn in the classroom,” Benvenuto said. “We’re all pretty excited."

To see the final scores, please visit: http://media.wix.com/ugd/b0a23b_ad436a0841604991bcf78d5c661e4514.pdf