Testo And Team Swinburne: Taking electric vehicles to another level

At Testo, we specialise in high-performance testing and
measurement technology. This means our products have a massive range of uses –
today, we’re looking at one of the most exciting.

Team Swinburne is a group of like-minded engineers from Swinburne University who,
once a year, test their custom-crafted electric vehicles against other
universities in a challenge of engineering skill, business nous, design talent
and innovation in the
Formula SAE.

It’s a competition filled with prestige, sponsorship and massive
career opportunities – and Testo helps give Team Swinburne a cutting edge. We
spoke to the team’s Jasper Koope to find out more.

What is Formula SAE?

“Once a year, the Society for Automotive Engineering (SAE) hosts
the Formula SAE, a global competition for tertiary engineering students,”
Jasper explains.

“Students have to design and build a formula race car, which
enters into competition with others every December. It’s been running since
1980, and Team Swinburne has been involved since 2001, winning the overall
category in 2012 and coming third for electric vehicles in 2016.”

“Vehicles are judged on the methodology of the design,
cost-effectiveness of the vehicle in terms of production, and its performance
through a series of speed and endurance tests.”

It’s a massive competition – Team Swinburne alone includes some
50 to 60 students split into six or seven teams, each with their own project
leaders and designated tasks. The car has to perform just like a mass-produced
formula vehicle would, and that’s no easy feat.

How Team Swinburne creates high
performance

The development of an electric vehicle for the Formula SAE
contest is a process of constant evolution, with the previous year’s design and
ideas being refined for the subsequent entry.

“We can only reuse 30 per cent of the previous year’s model,”
Jasper explains, “and we start deciding on the next year’s model almost as soon
as the December competition finishes.”

“You have a constant inflow and outflow of team members based on
who is in the engineering faculty, so we’re constantly working out skill transfers,
role changes and how to best create continuity in our knowledge base. On top of
that, we also have to have the best people for each job assigned really early.”

With a typical test drive date in September, this means Team
Swinburne are creating a racetrack-ready car, often from scratch, in as little
as nine months.

How Testo helps Team Swinburne
create the perfect electric race car

“Motorsport is extremely competitive,” Jasper explains. “Every
team is operating at an incredibly high level, the pressure is enormous and
there’s little to no margin for error.”

“During the competition, if one
circuit doesn’t work it’s game over. Before we had access to
Testo’s instruments, we were using lower quality
multimeters and clamp meters that resulted in some big errors on the day. We
were wasting time and energy fixing problems that could have been prevented,
and were open to a lot of malfunction risk.”

“Testo’s readings are accurate and reliable – it gives us
the ability to fine tune our systems, lending us a real competitive advantage.”

Such a good advantage, in fact,
that Jasper believes Team Swinburne has a real chance of winning the overall
title. By
ensuring consistent high performance in their electric
vehicle, their SAE entry can perform at its peak both in testing and during the
competition.

In such a competitive environment with so much at stake, it’s
critical that teams have the best measuring instruments available. By
partnering with Testo, Team Swinburne have – in their own words – given
themselves an edge over the competition.

To find out more about what our
product range is capable of,
get in touch with our team – and best of luck to Team Swinburne this year!

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