Formula Hybrid and Plug In America
In May 2007, Plug In America received a grant from the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to encourage and support teams from California entering the Formula Hybrid competition. Formula Hybrid is the exciting hybrid race which evolved from the highly successful Formula SAE® program, established in 1981 and sponsored by the Society of Automotive Engineers. The next Formula Hybrid International Competition will feature custom built plug-in hybrid cars designed by collegiate teams competing from around the world. Formula Hybrid 2008 was held May 5-7, 2008 at the New Hampshire International Speedway in Loudon, NH. Formula Hybrid 2009 will be held May 2009, at the same location. Last year, Plug In America awarded grants of $12,500 each to student teams at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and UC Irvine to participate in the recently completed 2008 Formula Hybrid Competition.
Formula Hybrid began in 2003 when Dartmouth engineering students researched their first hybrid racecar in hopes of entering it in that year's Formula SAE competition. When Formula SAE competition rules changed that year to disallow hybrid entries; the students were inspired to develop a hybrid competition. The competition itself is a sort of educational hybrid, bringing together applications of both mechanical and electrical engineering. Both the SAE and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers are sponsors of the program, along with major automakers including Toyota and DaimlerChrysler.
Students design and build an open-wheel, single seat car that must conform to a strict set of rules - formulas - that emphasize, encourage, and promote drivetrain innovation and fuel efficiency. In fact, a Formula Hybrid vehicle must use at least 15 percent less gasoline than a comparable "regular" Formula SAE racecar operated under the same conditions, a goal surpassed by many of the entries. Another guideline involves recycling: Unlike the Formula SAE competition, Formula Hybrid teams are encouraged to incorporate used parts of other racecars rather than build everything from scratch.
Plug In America's Commitment to the Next Generation
Plug In America applied for the California Air Resources Board Alternative Fuels Grant program because it believes the next generation of engineering students are critical to the future of automobile transportation. As a non-profit organization which advocates the use of plug-in cars, trucks, and SUVs powered by cleaner, cheaper, domestic electricity, Plug In America supports these students in getting first-hand experience with these world-changing technologies. The Formula Hybrid teams are making a real difference and in doing so are helping to reduce our nation's dependence on petroleum and improve the global environment.
The deadline for grant applications is October 21, 2008. Plug In America will announce the winners in November 2008. Student teams from California universities and colleges may find out more about the grant program, apply for the grants, or contact us via email for more information.
The Plug In America and Formula Hybrid Partnership
"We are pleased and proud to receive this grant from the California Air Resources Board; it really shows how much our organization has achieved in advancing plug-in vehicles. Formula Hybrid encourages the next generation of engineers to explore the benefits of using electricity to make petroleum use the exception in transportation, not the rule. Hybrids have shown the advantages of using electric drive in cars: imagine what they can do with plug-in hybrids and beyond."
Executive Director of Plug In America
"We are delighted to have Plug In America and the California Air Resources Board sponsor Formula Hybrid and support bringing additional teams from California to our event. Students are incredibly creative in coming up with novel solutions which push the envelope. I'm sure the new teams from California will add a great additional dimension to the competition."
Formula Hybrid Director and Dartmouth Thayer School of Engineering Research Engineer