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"1' 18'' x km at Montmeló; good mark for a car made here."
Koldo Iriarte, the leader of the Tecnun eRacing team during the 17/18 course reviews in the DV how was the recent participation of the Tecnun single-seater in Formula Student.
We reproduce below the interview made by the journalist of EL DIARIO VASCO, Begoña del Teso, to the team leader of the Tecnun eRacing team, Koldo Iriarte:
"All the information about engineers, engineering students, doctoral students who once again this year joined forces to create the most incredible university car in Europe and manufactured and assembled it in Paseo Manuel Lardizabal in Donostia, can be found on the website Tecnun eRacing. Formula Student Electric e-racing team.tecnun.es. There you will find Koldo as team leader, Eric Roig as technical director, Alejandra Areñas as operations leader. The thing is that the engineers from the Gipuzkoa campus of the University of Navarra competed hard in Montmelo with their car. They competed against universities from half of Europe.
Electric, right? The car you submitted for the approval of the international court of Formula Student was electric. And with it you did that minute 18 seconds in the Montmeló circuit.
In this competition between European universities there are three categories: cars with combustion engines, electric cars and autonomous cars. Tecnun had been competing in traditional and electric cars for several years, but this year the two groups have become one and created the team Tecnun Seed Racing. Electric, yes, because the future is there. Both on the road and on the circuits. In motorcycles as well as in single-seaters of the different formulas.
It locates these data of shooting; where and in the great Catalan racetrack.
It was in the Endurance test, the one so close to the times, to the clock. We had problems with the battery charge and could not complete the scheduled 20 laps. We did 7 laps, reducing the power to make the battery last longer. It hurt us to have to abandon but we were very satisfied to see that lap after lap we were gaining seconds. And that the best classified car did not exceed 6'', although sometimes it was close to 4''.
We have already detected one failure. And one of the most typical in electric vehicles: the battery and its charging. Have there been others?
Of course. But we had already assumed from the beginning that it could be like that; that it was going to be like that.
Start construction assuming upfront failures?
And on top of that, without complexes. Look, the fundamental thing this 2018 has been to create the team, the human team. Think that we were bringing together people who had just built a vehicle with a combustion engine and other students who had spent a lot of time fine-tuning an electric vehicle. It didn't seem easy to combine efforts and interests. We did it. And while we did it we learned a lot of things. Things we should reflect on and act on as soon as the couple of days off we have taken are over.
Learn things like...
For example, we made the mistake of wanting to manufacture many parts ourselves, many parts of the car. We wanted to make everything ourselves. And we were wrong. We made a mistake because it doesn't always come out right the first time. Nor the second time. And by the time it comes out, you have lost too much time (the dates are what they are and always very tight), money (the components are very expensive...) and energy. Another issue to calibrate is the transmission...
From engine to wheels?
- Not exactly. Tecnun has been participating in Formula Student for a long time. Since 2009. There have been many cars. And many people who have been leaving the teams as they finished their studies. Rotation is logical and desirable but we must find a way that all that has been learned and developed by so many students is not lost along the way and passed on to the new teams. We will always start from scratch. But it will be better to have a 'big data' of previous knowledge and experience .
Once you have registered the points to rethink, tell me one that you were particularly satisfied with.
The same if we had chosen to introduce two motors instead of one. Considering that our Seed had rear-wheel drive, each of these motors acted independently on a different wheel. This decision made everything much simpler. In addition, by placing the two motors in line, we gained space for the batteries. We used 96. There were cars that introduced 200. Others only 50. And as happens in non-championship automotive, the biggest headache was how to reduce weight and size to make the car more agile without losing recharging capacity.
We know that the future is electric, but aren't some people at Tecnun eRacing nostalgic for gasoline, noise, oil, combustion ....?
Of course, some of them remain. But the sensation of driving an electric car is curious, strange. First because there is only the accelerator pedal and the brake pedal. And then because in our case we got a car with very high acceleration. An agile car, super smooth and fast. Of course, you can not go up the revs. And some people miss it