Eighteen first and second year Mechanical Engineering students from Heriot-Watt University Malaysia took part in a study tour of the FIA Formula E garage on 6 November 2015. Held one day before the FIA Formula E Putrajaya ePrix, the study tour was part of the Formula E’s objectives to cater to the Millennial generation who are anticipated to take electric-powered vehicles to the next level.
The event kicked off with the students being greeted by EJ, Formula E’s superstar DJ and mascot, who introduced them to The Raptor, his fully electric vehicle, and the Go Cycle, an electric bicycle that can move at a top speed of 35kph. Following this, the students were taken on a guided tour of the garage, where they were greeted by technicians and drivers. The lucky students caught the teams in the midst of a “shakedown” – which is when the technicians, engineers and drivers will test the car before it can be declared fully operational. This allowed for free exchange of information on the many technical details of the car.
After that, the students were treated to a personal demonstration by Sam Bird, a Formula E driver and member of the DC Virgin racing team, on how the steering wheel of the Formula E car works and how it differs from the steering wheels of the cars used in Formula 1. They then participated in a Q&A session with Sylvain Filippi, a technician also from the DS Virgin Racing team. The students also had the chance to meet Bruno Correia, the official safety car driver for the Formula E series, and enjoy an up-close-and-personal look at the much coveted BMW i8, one of BMW’s first hybrid cars which charges wirelessly.
This experience proved to be an eye-opener for the students. “I have full respect for all the engineers and technicians that make it possible for electric cars to move fast as they do on pure, clean energy,” said Aiman Bin Adam, who is currently pursuing Mechanical Engineering at the university. The Formula E engineers and drivers were, in turn, impressed with the students’ drive for knowledge and curiosity.
The Formula E is a ground-breaking FIA single-seater championship and the world’s first fully-electric racing series, featuring 10 two-driver teams racing on temporary city-centre circuits. It is the brainchild of FIA President Jean Todt, who envisioned creating a championship to showcase the vast potential of electric vehicles. The Malaysian leg of the 2015 Championship saw Putrajaya being the location of choice for the second consecutive year.
Consequently, this year’s study tour was an extension of a meet-and-greet session held in conjunction with the 2014 Championship, during which Bird and his team visited the Heriot-Watt University Malaysia campus to meet the students.
Heriot-Watt University Malaysia 赫瑞瓦特大学