From student to engineer in a year

Revolve NTNU is an independent student organization at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. The team consists of 64 members who work voluntarily parallel to full time engineering studies. The members are from 13 engineering fields and all years of study.

To develop and build a race car from scratch in one year is a challenging task that demands numerous engineering fields, extraordinary dedication and hard earned resources. Every year a new team of students take on the complex and comprehensive project to make the transition from students to fully capable engineers.



What we do

In a year the team complete a full product development process in order to produce a capable race car to compete in one of the largest engineering competitions for students in the world, Formula Student.

At project start the leader group maps out overall plans, focus areas, needed competence, organizational structure and budgets, in addition to recruiting highly motivated students. The design process starts with problem identification and concept development of all systems, before proceeding to simulation and design. When all designs are finished  production and assembly starts. 8 months into the project testing and continous improvement to prepare for the competition commences. The project is finalized in the summer on competitions in Europe.

The result

The hard work results in a highly complex product, a proper racecar. The car offers innovative solutions and complex design in order to optimize traction, aerodynamic properties, data aquisition, vehicle control and minimize weight in order to achieve the best on track performance.

In addition to the car, the result is students with unique experience and skills. Among these are product development, project management, marketing and team work. In addition our members acquire vast knowledge of other engineering fields and their way of problem solving and communication. Overall our members go from students to rounded, capable engineers that are prepared to take on the challenges that will meet them in their future career.

Mission and values

Our mission is “From theory to practice”. Even though we develop a complex product, our most important result is students with unique knowledge and skill sets. We believe the interdisciplinary teamwork and endless possibilities that the students face through a year in Revolve NTNU makes the project a perfect arena for personal development.

In few years Revolve NTNU has managed to achieve great results in Formula Student through hard work, professionalism and ambitious goals. We believe our values are essential to the personal development of our members and our journey towards the very top level in Formula Student.




The dream to build a car

In the spring of 2010 four students, Steffen Johnsen, Sigbjørn Eriksrud, Simen Johnsen and Øyvind Våland sat down to discuss the possibility of a exciting project to complement their engineering studies. Their goal was to get more practical engineering related to their studies. After hours of research they discovered Formula Student, the perfect arena for putting their engineering knowledge to the test through building a formula race car. This is our history.



2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2010
2010

A vast variety of challenges occurred when the four boys started to work towards their dream of developing their very own race car. They had nothing, but needed money, materials, a place to work, production facilities and people to contribute to the development. Partnerships with businesses and NTNU was crucial to make the project feasible. In addition to resources the team also needed dedicated members and a solid structure. From the start the four good friends had formal meetings and followed them to the letter. This built a solid foundation for the identity and professionalism of the organization in the years to follow. In autumn 2010, they were ready to take in more members who constituted the management team of Revolve NTNU. A lot of hours were spent on the office planning the development of a high tech race car. November 6th 2010 Revolve NTNU was officially registered as an organization with the purpose to be NTNU´s participant in Formula Student! This was a big milestone for the organization, the foundation of a solid project was created.

2011
2011

The year started with recruiting new team members who would constitute the first team of Revolve NTNU. After a strict selection process 23 new members were admitted to the organization and students from all years of study and 6 different engineering departments were ready to take on the challenge. With a good organization structure and motivated students the real development work started. No one had ever built a race car before, so the challenges were many. However, through hard work and dedication we managed to find solutions to the problems we met. April 7th 2011 we signed Kongsberg Automotive as our main sponsor. This was a major step towards actually building the race car and was a stepping stone for us towards getting more partnerships. The knowledge base in Kongsberg Automotive also led to the project taking solutions and targets to the next level.

2012
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The first complete Revolve team started their journey towards participation in Formula Student. The learning curve was steep, but the team made good progress. In January, most parts had finished designs and were ready for production. The hours required to design everything from scratch was immense, but the effort to take the designs from the computer into a fully working race car was still remaining. All metal parts and body moulds had to be machined, electrical components and PCBs produced and carbon fiber parts casted. Many partners helped to do advanced processes in addition to the production which was done in labs at NTNU. When parts started to arrive and assembly commenced it occurred to the team that their dream was closing in on reality.

May 3rd 2012 the team finally revealed the result of more than 30.000 hours of hard work. In excess of 500 students took part in the event which included speeches from World Rally Champion Petter Solberg and CEO Kongsberg Automotive Hans Peter Havdal in addition to the roll out of KA Borealis R, our first race car!

A lot of testing, driver training and various adjustments remained before we were ready to compete. In the middle of July the entire team arrived at Silverstone, curious, anxious and excited of finally putting the car to the test. The feedback from other teams and judges was very positive and impressed of the performance, quality and design of our first year car. At the track and at presentations things went good as well. The entire team was very pleased with the competition and the result; Best Newcomer Award and 17th position overall!

2013
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2013-2

The success of the first year team led to great interest and many applicants when admission of a new team started. 16 members of the 2012 team stayed with the team, hungry for new challenges and a motivated team of 46 students were ready to develop an all new race car following the legacy created by the previous team. Ambitious plans were made including concepts such as an active aerodynamic package and an adaptive suspension system. The team worked hard throughout the fall. In January most designs was finalizing, and we did a design review at Kongsberg Automotive’s headquarter to get feedback on our designs. After great progress in January and February parts were getting ready for assembly in March.

Hundreds of problems were discovered and solved in the final assembly of the car. The frame was finished in March, and the body was casted at KONGSBERG’s factory in mid April. In April was also the first ever “RevolveDagen” event organized, gathering business and students to learn about and from each other. Many late nights were put in as the roll out of the new car was getting closer. Nevertheless the team was highly motivated as their parts started to look like a formula race car. May 6th was a big day for the team as it finally was time to show the rest of the world the result of all the long hours. The current Minister of Education, Kristin Halvorsen and CEO of Kongsberg Automotive held engaging speeches about engineering education and cooperation between business and students. All the members could finally let down their guard and celebrate the achievement.

After testing and improving the car for some weeks we were ready to pack the trailer and head for Silverstone circuit once again. The car and the team received great feedback from the competition and judges this year as well. Pat Clarke, Formula Student design judge, signed the car with “Best second year car EVER at FSUK”. The static and dynamic event went very well with good scores overall. At the last day it was time for the Endurance Event. Half way through the event we had a wing support failure, forcing us to retire from the event. In spite of receiving no points at the event we finished 16th overall and was awarded the National Instruments Measurement and Control Award for the electronic and control system on the car.

2014
2014
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After great success with KA Aquilo R and with the premise of building Norway’s first electric racecar, Revolve NTNU saw a large increase in applicants. In the end, Team 2014’s 46 members made some of the greatest advances in Revolve NTNU history building KOG Arctos R.

We started out with an ambitious goal: Lose 80 kilograms, equivalent to a third of the weight compared to last seasons KA Aquilo R. With strict restrictions on power output being a feather weight is essential to be a top contender in Formula Student. This resulted in a new design from the ground up, with numerous innovations and premium materials. The design was finalized by the end of January, featuring a carbon fiber monocoque, in-house designed battery package and titanium laser sintered uprights. All in all, the team achieved an impressive a weight reduction while increasing the power output.

Manufacturing of parts began in February. We sent many of our members to Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace’s facilities to manufacture our carbon fiber parts, as well as manufacturing in-house, and receiving other parts from our sponsors. Assembly began in March, with fewer challenges than with KA Aquilo R. “RevolveDagen” was again hosted during this period, featuring a presentation from Internationally acclaimed industrial designer Bård Eker from Koenigsegg.

We worked tirelessly towards the nearing deadline. The five preceding days before the reveal date was spent continuously working on the car to ensure that it was ready for the big reveal. Finally, on the 13th of May 2014 KOG Arctos R was revealed to a deafening applause. We had successfully built Norway’s first Electric Racecar. The team could now relax briefly before the the testing phase began.

The large advancements also led to numerous challenges, especially during testing. The in-house designed battery package in particular required a significant change in testing practices compared to petrol fuel. Fortunately we adapted well to these changes, and achieved tremendous results. Amongst over a hundred participating teams, we finished 8th place at Formula Student UK, and 9th place at Formula Student Germany. To finish top 10 with our first electric car truly placed us amongst the top teams with over ten years of experience.

2015
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The 2014 season gave us a tremendous amount of experience, and after a very successful season, a new team of 49 members were ready to further push the limits of electric racing. Finishing 4th in one of its events, Vilje proved successful despite many great challenges during the season.

With all the great advancements in KOG Arctos R, some would think that only iterative improvements would be required to make a better performing car. But with many rule changes, and a greatly optimized design in KOG Arctos R, a full redesign from the ground up had to be made for the 2015 season. With a highly motivated team that was eager to learn, we had a finished design at the start of 2015. After just over 5 months of hard work, we were ready to begin the manufacturing of Vilje in february and march.

Recognizing the success of the 2014 season, many of our sponsors chose to join us for another year, including our main sponsor Kongsberg Gruppen. Utilizing their facilities, we were able to manufacture high quality carbon fiber parts. During the manufacturing period, we also hosted our very own career fair “RevolveDagen” for the third consecutive year. The main feature this year was a lecture by Daniele Zecchetti, one of the lead engineers in Scuderia Ferrari, Ferrari’s Formula 1 team.

28th of April was the official reveal date for the car, the earliest in Revolve NTNU history. This was clearly apparent during the assembly phase, which was rapidly nearing the deadline. Thankfully, we got the car ready for the public in time, and Vilje was met with a deafening applause from a fully packed audience and from numerous online stream-viewers. The team could finally rest for a few days and prepare for the testing season.

In terms of testing and racing, the 2015 season was perhaps one of the most intense, with numerous high stress situations. In a classic “quiet before the storm” fashion, a critical situation occurred the last day of testing before Formula Student UK in july. A motor breakdown rendered the car nonfunctional, and with only a few days before Formula Student UK, we had to travel to UK without a motor. Simultaneously, a team member flew to the motor manufacturer Emrax in Slovenia to get a new one. We arrived one day before the event start at Silverstone. With an enormous effort from the entire team, we managed to work through the night to install the new motor. We were amongst the first teams to pass the technical control. Unfortunately, we did not have enough time to tune the new motor, and technical complications led to us not finishing the endurance event at Formula Student UK. Still, we managed to finish 28th place amongst over 120 teams. A good result, but we were determined to do even better at Formula Student Austria.

After an effective testing period between Formula Student UK and Formula Student Austria, we headed towards Red Bull Ring, Spielberg with hopes of top results, but the summer weather in August made the event extremely challenging. With air temperatures reaching over 30 °C, many of the electric teams were wary of reaching the safety threshold for temperatures during racing. In the end, we completed all parts of the competitions and finished an incredible 4th place overall! A top 5 finish brought a lot of attention, and elevated many aspects of our project going into the 2016 season.

2016

In 2015, Revolve NTNU placed 4th in Austria’s Formula Student competition, giving this year’s team the confidence and inspiration to build an even more cutting edge vehicle with further developed technology. Last season, the team consisted of 55 members, 11 of which were master’s students. Ten of these students wrote master’s theses on the competition car, Gnist.

Team 2016 successfully designed, developed and built Scandinavia’s first ever 4WD electric race car. This meant the team had to completely redesign everything about the way we previously produced the our more conventional compression race cars. This lead to innovation in aerodynamics, suspension, the monocoque, torque vectoring, and our (KERS) regenerative braking.

Our main partner, Kongsberg Gruppen, helped us develop and produce our newly designed monocoque while giving our engineers great advice during the process. Besides having great partners working alongside us, we also had speakers like Dirk Ahlborn present great ideas like the development of Elon Musk’s hyperloop concept. This type of collaboration is necessary when producing a sustainable and efficient Formula Student race car.

This is why we make sure to showcase our sponsors at an all-day event called “Revolve Day” where students from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, among others, can learn about what we do and why we do it. But more importantly, we, the Revolve NTNU team along with our sponsors, get to engage with other students to talk about our wonderful experiences in developing northern Europe’s fastest electric race car.

On the 3rd of May, we unveiled our car with Christian Hauglie-Hanssen, the Executive Vice President of Space & Surveillance at Kongsberg Defence Systems. It wasn’t long before our first and largest competition with Formula Student UK at Silverstone. Gnist performed well here, finishing in 6th place out of 130 other teams in the acceleration event. Our exhilaration of accomplishment was unfortunately cut short due to a failure with Gnist’s battery management system. The failure suppressed our power limiter, causing us to draw more power than this event’s 60 kW limit allowed for. Despite this, the managed to win several prizes for its innovative solutions:
Jaguar Land Rover Award For Innovation in Propulsion Systems,
Class 1 Best High Voltage Powertrain Implementation by Mercedes AMG High Performance Powertrains.

At this point, the team had merely one week of testing available before Formula Student Austria. Although our testing timespan was limited, we successfully finished 6th place overall! Gnist had yet to realised its full potential, due to high temperatures in the inverter and distinct grip conditions and we had still come close to winning the competition. We were satisfied with our performance and end result, but we are always looking to improve.

As always, everyone at Red Bull Ring provided a very friendly atmosphere, with fewer teams and a more relaxed attitude building up to the most prestigious competition, Formula Student Germany.

With engineers and great brands and names present (Audi, Porsche, Mercedes-Benz, Bosch just to name a few). Things to mention here was a stunning 5th place in Engineering Design, which apart from the Endurance event, is considered as the most prestigious event. Unfortunately for us, a DNF in the Endurance event due to technical issues in the gearbox near the end of the stint, caused us to lose potential points in the competition.

The Cars

Every year a new race car comes to life representing all the hard work of a dedicated team. A race car is the perfect platform for complex and interdisciplinary engineering. Each car stand out with unique characteristics and features, all developed by engineering students at NTNU. After a car has raced at the Formula Student competitions, it is used for testing, drivers training and on numerous promotions and events. Even though Revolve NTNU has a history of taking big steps every year, there is a clear knowledge and experience transfer from one team to the next. The cars represent our legacy and we will continue our steep learning curve to design the best engineered car in the field.



KA Borealis R

KA Borealis R was the first car developed by Revolve NTNU. The car features a tubular space frame, carbon fiber body and a Suzuki GSX-R 600 engine. The car was awarded Best Newcomer Award at Formula Student UK in 2012 and finished in a strong 17th out of over hundred international teams. Further on the car set a standard for Revolve NTNU in terms of design and quality of finish which has been kept by the team ever since.

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KA Aquilo R

KA Aquilo R was the second car developed by Revolve NTNU. The car had the same basic concept as the 2012 car, but introduced a wide variety of new systems, solutions and improvements. The innovations on the car include a full aero package, adaptive suspension, continous variable air intake and a CAN-bus electronic system. The car was awarded National Instruments Measurement and Control Award for the electronic system and control systems at FSUK.

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KOG Arctos R

KOG Arctos R is the the third car developed by Revolve NTNU, and also Norway’s first electric race car. The car features an fully electric drivetrain and a carbon fiber monocoque, resulting in a weight loss of 65 kg compared to its predecessor KA Aquilo R. KOG Arctos R was designed from the bottom up, with an overall focus on reducing weight and at the same time introducing more power through the electric motor. The car has an extensive aerodynamics package creating a massive 140 kg of downforce at 80 km/h. The battery package for the car was designed in-house, delivering 7,6 kWh of energy and weighing in at 46 kg. Other innovations include a self-designed motor control unit, carbon fiber rims and driveshaft and titanium laser sintered uprights.





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Vilje

Vilje is the second electric car by Revolve NTNU, and is a complete redesign from the KOG Arctos R. Even after the extensive weight reduction last year, the weight of Vilje was reduced by another 10 kg to just 175 kg. The drivetrain is based on the Emrax 228 electric motor with an in-house developed inverter and accumulator. All electronics were developed in-house, including the battery management system, motor control and inertia measurement unit. The aerodynamics package went through a complete redesign and features an undertray and rear diffusers in addition to the front and rear wings. A two-piece monocoque design was made for the chassis and a hydrophobic nano technology paint job weighing just 260 grams was applied. For 2015 our telemetry software Revolve Analyze was completely reworked from the ground up to enable more efficient and systematic testing and driver feedback.





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Gnist

Gnist is the first four-wheel drive electric car designed and manufactured in Scandinavia. Four hub-mounted AMK DD5-14-10 motors with individual compound planetary gearboxes provide a combined power output of 190 bhp. A total redesign from Vilje was necessary to accommodate this powertrain system. A new monocoque design, aerodynamics package, electrical systems, and more make way for an advanced torque vectoring system: By controlling the power output for each wheel individually, Gnist’s cornering and acceleration capabilities are further improved.

Gnist’s drivetrain and powertrain design was acknowledged with two special awards:
– Jaguar Land Rover Award For Innovation in Propulsion Systems.
– Class 1 Best High Voltage Powertrain Implementation by Mercedes AMG High Performance Powertrains.

Other improvements include two-piece full carbon fiber rims, topology optimized titanium 3D-printed uprights, and a pushrod actuated, double un-even a-arm, suspension system.





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The Competition

Formula Student challenges students to build a single seat formula race car with which they can compete against teams from all over the world. The competition is not won solely by the team with the fastest car, but rather by the team with the best overall package of construction, performance, and financial and sales planning.

Formula Student challenges us to go the extra step in our education by incorporating into it intensive experience in building and manufacturing as well as considering the economic aspects of engineering.

The challenge we face is to compose a complete package consisting of a well-constructed race car and a sales plan that best matches given criteria. We will be evaluated by judges from the motorsport, automotive and supplier industries. The jury will judge every team’s car and sales plan based on construction, cost planning and sales presentation.

In total teams can earn a total of 1000 points, distributed over the different static and dynamic events. The team that manages to beat all the other team’s score wins.

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Point distribution between events

Photos from Formula Student UK 2013



Static events

Through three static events we must present the engineering design, cost considerations in addition to performing a pitch to judges acting as investors.

  • In the design event we demonstrate, show simulations and use theory to display the development process and engineering approach and results. The event is judged based on the engineering quality of the car and the processes executed to end at the specific solutions.
  • In the Cost Event we demonstrate cost trade offs done in the development of the car in addition to present an extensive cost report, which estimates production cost of the car.
  • The sales pitch motivates us to think of the cars attractiveness and market potential, investment key factors and how to present an investment opportunity to external investors.

Performance events

Out on the track we must demonstrate in a number of performance tests how well our self-built race cars fare in its true environment.

  • In the Acceleration Event the car’s acceleration abilities is put to the test over a distance of 75 meters.
  • In the Skid Pad Event the car’s ability to generate lateral acceleration is measured on a figure of 8 track
  • In the Autocross Event the on track performance is put to the test on a course of a kilometer with straights and curves. The lap time indicates the driving dynamics and handling qualities of the car.
  • The Endurance Event is raced on roughly the same track as in autocross, but over a distance of 22 kilometers. The car has to prove its acceleration, speed, handling, dynamics, fuel economy and reliability. The event is the ultimate test of the overall performance of the car.
  • Energy usage is measured during the Endurance Event and is also a considerable factor in the competition. Energy efficiency is derived from lap times and the actual energy usage measured by a energy meter mounted in the tractive system of the car.