In 2014, 22 multidisciplinary student teams set out to build the world’s most eco-energy-friendly vehicle as part of the Shell Eco-Marathon in Detroit. The Beyond team, made up of 11 mechanical engineering graduates, 10 electrical engineering graduates, and a single chemical engineering student, put in two years of work to create a raindrop-shaped vehicle design that would be made entirely out of carbon fiber.
Apart from its eclectic design, the Beyond project team had another secret weapon: An electric motor, built from scratch by the electrical engineering team members using MATLAB and the MagNet electric field simulation software to validate results and come up with an optimal design.
MagNet helped resolve a number of core design challenges with that core motor. One of the most significant was the efficiency optimization and reduction of core loss by simulating the magnetic flux created by the motor windings. The team was able to accomplish this by writing Visual Basic code that was compatible with MagNet, allowing for the testing of several iterations of motor designs without having to recreate the wheel each time. MagNet allowed the team to easily modify the design of the motor based on the results of simulating each iteration until an optimal motor design was found.
To learn more about the Project Beyond effort, check out this presentation by the Universite de Sherbrooke’s Raphaël De Roy.