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Formula CCM

 

An Experimental Electric Vehicle Competition for Student-Engineers

 

From The County College of Morris SAE Student Chapter

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Formula CCM is a simple, low-cost "Electric Vehicle Challenge" for high school or college classes or similar groups.

CCM engineering students who are members of the college SAE chapter are focusing on building a simple, electric-powered, one-person micro-vehicles that can be built for less than $200. It is hoped that once the project is fully worked out, other schools and organizations can participate in a low-key and simple, low-cost competition.

RULES

We are considering two "Tiers" of electric vehicles. The "First Tier" vehicles would be powered by electric starter motors (from a car). The "Second Tier" vehicles would be powered by an 18 volt, cordless electric hand-drill. We have not designed or built any of the Second Tier (drill-powered) vehicles so far, but we have seen some in action and they are surprisingly successful. The information below refers to our First Tier (starter motor) vehicles.

Battery power limited to under 240 CCA with wet-cell "lawn tractor" 12V battery. Use Toyota four-cylinder starter motor or any similar unit. Starter used must have built-in free-wheel function (a standard feature of the Toyota starter). This is very important for control....without this free-wheel function, an expensive speed control would be required. "On/Off switch may function as economical "speed control" but must be "deadman" type. 5:1 gear ration suggested but not required (these starter already ready have internal gear reduction). Only one "gear" allowed: no multiple gear transmissions permitted. One-wheel or two-wheel drive is permitted. Rear wheel or front wheel drive OK. Engine and drive train may be placed in any location on the vehicle but must have safety shields as appropriate to protect driver.

A short YouTube video of one of our electric Formula-CCMs during indoor trials.

The actual vehicle must weight at least 50 pounds and fit within a 40" (long) by 32" (wide) envelope. There is no overall height restriction. We are likely to develop weight classes at a later date, so that smaller drivers do not have an unfair advantage.

Vehicle must have air-type tires with 10" overall OD. These are available from "Northern Tools" and other suppliers for under $10 USD each.

Vehicle must have brake operating on at least one wheel. "Scrub" brakes (against the tire) are acceptable.

Test course is a compact "track" that can be layed out with traffic cones in a small parking lot. Measuments and distances will be provided so that groups in different areas can lay out their own course and compare test results of vehicles. Part of the goal parameters will involve a one hour non-stop test drive at minimum speeds of 15 mph.

Partly-built Tier One prototype (below)

Background Information

In 2007, the students in the County College of Morris (CCM) Engineering Department formed a Chapter of the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE).

The chapter has been working on projects related to high-efficiency minature vehicles with alternate power sources. In 2008, several students built vehicles designed around a set of challenging performance goals. The vehicle were powered by micro-sized gasoline engines, less than 25 cc in displacement (approximately 1 cubic inch). For comparison, the average push-type lawn mower has an engine eight times that size and the engine in a Honda Accord is about 100 times bigger. The vehicles needed to carry one person at speeds up to 15 mph and needed to achieve that speed in less than 10 seconds. Several of the project vehicles passed these goals with flying colors including one vehicle with an ultra-tiny, 16 cc engine.

A short YouTube video of two of our gas-powered Formula-CCMs during testing.

For 2009-2010, the students are focusing on electric-powered, one-person micro-vehicles. Part of the goal parameters will involve a timed, non-stop test drive at minimum speeds of 15 mph. The power source for the vehicles will be limited to a small, lightweight 240 CCA wet cell battery.

Faculty advisor, Prof. Nial McCabe feels that these types of projects allow students to get excited and interested in technologies related to many new new "green" intiatives and efforts to create energy independance. Prof. McCabe says these type of initiative are likely to become more critical for future engineers.

Upcoming planned projects involve the use of alternate, lightweight materials and ultra low-friction components.

Students in the CCM SAE chapter are not required to be members of the engineeing program but most are. Although the SAE projects are extra-curricular and not part of any credit-bearing class, they allow the students to be exposed to valuable real-world engineering problems as well as gaining critical teamwork skills. The college provides some materials for chapter projects and pays for student membership in the SAE.

The "key" to the first, gas-powered Formula CCM projects was the super-tiny powerplants. Formula CCM gas powered vehicle were mostly limited to 25 cc "string trimmer" engines that generally had less than 1/2 horsepower. Designing and building a successful vehicle with a powerplant this small was a real engineering challenge! As the project developed, we built vehicle with much smaller engines; one as small as 16 cc. All newer Formula CCM vehicles (from 2009 and on) are electric powered and use a Toyota automotive starter-motor (or similar unit). Any electric starter motor used for this purpose must have a one-way internal clutch to allow free-wheeling (most modern starter motors have this feature). Otherwise, the vehicle will be very hard to control.

 

Some pictures and info directly below are our older gas-powered vehicles. We are NO LONGER building gas-powered project vehicles (although we learned a lot from building them). Scroll down to see our newer electric powered Formula CCM projects. We expect to have a number of fully developed electric Formula CCM vehicles by 2010.

 

Achieving reasonable performance from our older gas-powered vehicles with ultra-small engines required careful and elegant engineering.

Since the power from our gas engines was very limited, they were not capable of high speeds and were inherently safe. Our newer, electic vehicles are similarly safe due to low power.

Once a Formula CCM vehicle was built, it was analyzed for performance by being driven through a defined test course. A small, standardized test course was designed by the CCM SAE Chapter. We are still fine-tuning the design of our test track (to better suit our newer, electric vehicles). Once we have a final design, we will provide updated layout and size information so that groups in other areas can set up an identical test course. This will allow groups in different areas to measure comparable performance criteria (such as "lap times" and other measured data). We would likely describe our test-track runs as "reliability trials", to distinguish them from "races".

Basic rules (below) will keep this project simple and economical.

An electric powered Formula CCM could easily be built with mostly "new" parts for under $200 USD. If parts are "scrounged", a Formula CCM could be built for under $75.

Formula CCM is a creation of the County College of Morris (CCM) Student Chapter of The SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers).

CCM is located in Randolph, New Jersey, USA ( www.ccm.edu )

The vehicles shown below are unfinished test prototypes. Most are shown as gas powered but some were later modified for electric power. These are provided just to give an idea of the basic concept. We are now in the process of delevloping our electric vehicles more fully. We will provide information on more-finished electric vehicles as well as test results as time goes on. We'll also list details about how others can join us in this competition.

BASIC RULES

For internally reduced electric starter motors, an overall gear ratio of about 6:1 is suggested. Only one "gear" allowed: no multiple gear transmissions permitted. One-wheel or two-wheel drive is permitted. Rear wheel or front wheel drive OK. Engine and drive train may be placed in any location on the vehicle but must have safety shields as appropriate to protect driver.

The actual vehicle must weight at least 50 pounds and fit within a 40" (long) by 32" (wide) envelope. There is no overall height restriction. We are likely to develop weight classes at a later date, so that smaller drivers do not have an unfair advantage.

Vehicle must have air-type tires with 10" overall OD. These are available from "Northern Tools" and other suppliers for under $10 USD each.

Vehicle must have brake operating on at least one wheel. "Scrub" brakes (against the tire) are acceptable.

Test course is a compact "track" that can be layed out with traffic cones in a small parking lot. Measuments and distances will be provided so that groups in different areas can compare test results of vehicles.

Pictures of older, gas-powered project vehicles below.

Above: An older, front engined gas-powered Formula CCM.

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Above: A Formula CCM intended for electric power. Has an adjustable front end. This vehicle will have single, rear wheel drive. Note the narrowed, lay-back seat, which was split down the middle and a 3" section was removed.

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Above: A different rear drive Formula CCM

Above: This narrow-chassis Formula CCM used a 16 cc Stihl engine with about 1/3 horsepower.

Above: This vehicle (above) ended up as our first electric Formula-CCM.

Below: Various electric related projects: A first effort using a VW auto starter with internal planetary reduction: didn't work well due to lack of free-wheeling. Later converted to Toyota starter power. Third picture down is successful Toyota starter with #35 sprocket welded to output shaft.

This "five-wheel" electric vehicle (below) was a flop, but we learned a lot from it anyway. This was when we were trying to figure out power transmission problems for electics.

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