Last weekend, teams from 30 universities around North America descended on New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon for the third annual SAE Formula Hybrid challenge. Formula Hybrid is an offshoot of the long-running Formula SAE student design competition, except as the name implies, the cars have hybrid powertrains. The first two instances of the competition were both won by the team from McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. We spoke to McGill team member Jeff Turner after the initial competition, so we were naturally interested to hear how McGill's entry performed this year.
After using a modified Formula SAE chassis for the first two years, the McGill team built an all-new car this year specifically for Formula Hybrid. Instead of the parallel hybrid used in the original car, the McGill team went with a series hybrid configuration this time. Unfortunately, the car wasn't completely sorted out and had a number of problems. The Subaru Robin single cylinder engine the team has been using for two years was down on power from even its original 7 horsepower rating. As a result, the charge-depleting setup turned out to be even more depleting than intended.
A number of other teams also ran series hybrids, and the team from Brigham Young University even built a hydraulic series hybrid. Unfortunately, the hydraulic system was ruled ineligible under the current rules, so the team couldn't compete. You can read Jeff's description of this year's event after the jump.