Formula Hybrid debuts at competition

By Justin Park

The Cal Poly chapter of the Formula Hybrid Society of Automotive
Engineers debuted at the 2009 Formula Hybrid Competition last

The chapter traveled to New Hampshire for the three-day event,
which hosted international entries from Canada, India, Russia and

“It was fun, but definitely an exhausting experience,” said
Edward Otani, a third-year engineering student and treasurer of

On Monday, design and inspection reviews occurred at the North
Garage Inspection Bay.

“Most of the structural and stability features were on par or
beyond satisfactory in accordance with the FH 2009 rules,” said

However, issues with the vehicle’s electrical system prevented
them from competing.

“The team managed to rewire the electrical system and meet
inspectors’ criteria. However, during the process, our control
short-circuited and burnt out,” said Khieu Hoang, president of

Tuesday yielded a series of acceleration runs and autocross

Acceleration runs required racers to test the car’s acceleration
in a straight line on flat pavement at the New Hampshire Motor

The autocross event measured the vehicle’s maneuverability,
which featured acceleration, braking and cornering.

The evening’s barbecue dinner united attendees who had mutual
respect for everyone’s year-long efforts.

“Every team was helpful and courteous towards each school. We
exchanged technical data and suggestions for vehicle improvement,”
said Otani.

The final endurance race on Wednesday required appointed drivers
to drive 13.7 miles in an hour or less at the speedway.

Although the society was ineligible to participate, preparing
for the competition was a labor of love and rankings were of little

“[My involvement with FHSAE] is strictly for passion,” said
Brian Calvendra, a third-year engineering student.

“I am very proud to say that we were able to produce an official
hybrid vehicle though we did not get a chance to compete,” said

The society’s intensive courses assured members that hybrid
racecars could be constructed from scratch.

“It’s hands-on training, and at the same time, it’s related to
class material and studying,” said John Caffrey, an engineering
professor and FHSAE advisor.

Although FHSAE is comprised of engineering majors, all students
interested in hybrid design are encouraged to join.

“FHSAE provides for an exciting and challenging environment for
students of all majors to explore their abilities. Our club has an
attractive edge for any undergraduate-level student due to our
flexibility,” said Otani.

With the competition’s end, FHSAE’s camaraderie remains strong
as they look forward to future events and projects.

“I have met some great people. In fact, my social life with
other people has slowly shifted to hanging out with my new club
members,” said Craig Tsurumoto, vice president of FHSAE.

“About a year ago, no one knew each other and now we are a
team,” said James Ayoub, a sixth-year engineering student and
secretary of FHSAE.

Formula Hybrid debuts at competition

Formula Hybrid debuts at competition

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