Despite having clocked up more than 400 test kilometers in an attempt to make the car more reliable than in recent years, URE is still not running smoothly. This was evident in Assen, where once again the team had some challenges to overcome. Both the acceleration and the autocross involved some hiccups. Fortunately, a decent result was achieved for both elements, so the team could still manage to achieve a fair number of points.
The hiccups during the acceleration stemmed from the installation of a new, more efficient, electric motor for the rear wheels. Having carried out most of its testing using the previous version, the team installed a new type two weeks before FSN. This performed perfectly well during a test event in Genk, but in Assen some problems arose, as a result of which the torque had to be reduced. It is now open to question whether and how the team will get these problems resolved in time for the next competition in Hungary.
“We do have some ideas about the solution,” revealed team manager Dennis de Niel. “And we have already tested some solutions here on location, but once this event is over we will decide how we are going to tackle this. We have about four days between the competitions, so we shall have to review everything and see what's possible in that time.”
On the day of the endurance the team faced more problems and was unable to compete. After the team had spent the previous evening attempting to solve what had gone wrong during the autocross, fate struck again. With hindsight, the team stands by its decision. “Even if we hadn't done anything to the car, we probably would not have completed the endurance,” said De Niel in response to the earlier technical failures.
Whenever the URE13 had completed a circuit in a quick time, a sensor problem arose and shut down the car's emergency systems. “So attempting to resolve the problem now didn't involve any additional risk; otherwise we would have had to resolve it back in Eindhoven. In any event, we're now a little wiser.” The team manager revealed that the problems on the last day were related to a broken cable and a connector that wasn't connecting.
Podium prizes in spite of everything
Winning the highest placing for the cost and manufacturing section and third places in the design and skidpad events, despite the problems, the team managed to achieve an impressive third place overall in the electric class, behind Zürich and Dresden. Thus, in any event, Formula Student Netherlands proved a good rehearsal for the team. And the URE13 certainly has speed. When everything falls into place, the team should have a good chance of success at the larger events.
Whereas many top teams use a standard package of motors and peripherals, URE is developing its own motors for its car in cooperation with the AE Group. In addition, the team has been collaborating for years with Prodrive on the inverter, which controls the motors. The fact that the team is developing its own motors, gives it the chance to come up with something better than the competition, although it does commit the team to a longer development time.