I joined Penn Electric Racing (PER) in my freshman year (2012/13) at the University of Pennsylvania. At the time the team was very small, and was just finishing up work on a conversion of a Honda scooter to electric power. Work was being done in the background to move the team into developing vehicles for the inaugural electric division of the Formula SAE (FSAE) competition in the summer of 2014. I quickly gravitated towards composites work within the team and for my sophomore year I aided with a series of layups for most parts of the vehicle. Pictured below is the final car for our initial entry into the FSAE electric division competition. Unfortunately we had not ironed out all of the electrical problems we were having and were unable to compete, but it was an incredibly good experience for us and led to us going on to create a much more competitive vehicle for the year after.
For our second year competing in the FSAE electric division we took all that we learned the previous year and applied it to our new car. We downsized from two to one motor and switched from a direct drive system to a differential. My involvement increased with myself and Aedhan Loomis taking over as co-leads of the composites team. Along with teaching new members how to build in composites we also strove to improve our processes to create more accurate and ‘nicer-looking’ parts. Aedhan took charge of the body design and I focused on the cockpit, key to which was redesigning our seat. Pictured below is the final car we developed for the 2014/2015 competition. We won the overall trophy as well as many of the sub-categories.
Building on the success of REV-1, we set ourselves some very ambitious targets for it’s successor. We aimed for a sub 400 lb weight limit as well as adding a full aero-package to the vehicle. We downsized our motor as well as shrinking the diameter of our wheels to better optimise our performance. Our key goal on the composites team was to find a way to greatly improve the accuracy of our finished parts as well as move from Kevlar to Carbon Fibre (we had to find a way to greatly boost conductivity of the carbon to allow for grounding of the parts). We found a partnership with Leading Edge Composites (LEC) who sponsored us tooling materials, copper mesh, expertise, and machine time to create extremely accurate parts. The composite parts of REV-2 would likely not have been possible without their aid. I once again focused on seat design making a number of refinements to the REV-1 seat, as well as aiding in the design of other composite pieces. REV-2 placed second overall while winning several of the subcategories in the 2016 FSAE electric competition.