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MSOE’s SAE Formula Hybrid team named world champion

For MSOE’s SAE Formula Hybrid team, countless hours spent soliciting sponsors, designing and building their formula hybrid vehicle, testing their work, and consulting with faculty and industry advisors from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles finally paid off—and they enjoyed a record-setting performance on their way to taking first place in the world at the Formula Hybrid competition.

The competition was held this spring at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway. MSOE’s team sailed through their technical inspections; achieved the fastest unlimited class time in the acceleration event; and competed in the autocross event with the fastest time. They also were the first team in the history of the Formula Hybrid competition to complete all 44 laps of the endurance event.

Nicholas Vang, a mechanical engineering major from Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, skillfully steered his way around a one-kilometer section of track. In an almost supine position, all Vang could see were the tops of the car’s tires, the nose cone and the track. With exhaust screaming as the engine spun to over 10,000 RPMs and wind rushing around his helmet, it wasn’t until the final leg of the last lap that Vang noticed how hard his heart was beating.

“That’s when I thought, ‘We can do this; we can break the record,’” he said.

In addition, MSOE’s team received the Industrial Design Award from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and the IEEE Engineering the Future Award.

At the four-day event, students from across the U.S., Canada, and India competed in aspects of design, acceleration, handling, and endurance. Founded and run by Dartmouth College, the competition challenges college and university students to design, build, and compete high-performance hybrid and electric vehicles. The competition is part of the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) Collegiate Design Series and is regarded as the most complex and dynamic of the series.