Portland State's first formula electric race car

Portland State University
Portland, Oregon
Open Access
DOI: 10.18258/1061
Raised of $5,000 Goal
Funded on 10/06/13
Successfully Funded
  • $5,110
  • 102%
  • Funded
    on 10/06/13

About This Project

The formula electric competition began in the summer of 2013. Vehicle design and presentation are judged by industry professionals. The dynamic events include acceleration, autocross, skid pad, and endurance .

Research includes classroom learnings and hands-on engineering skills to determine a balance between performance, weight, and cost of parts to create a well-designed race car that performs well at the competition. Different systems will be researched and created, including chassis, suspension, and especially the electric drivetrain. This aims to create a fully electric race car that does not use any fossil fuels, and can use 100% renewable energy.

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What is the context of this research?

The goal is to create Portland State's first formula SAE electric race car. The vehicle will be built for reliability, to pass all tech inspections and complete all of the events, and perform well in them.
This project incorporates engineering aspects such as dynamics, thermodynamics, and electrical engineering. The research is both qualitative and quantitative: what components and systems will combine to create the best race car we can create, both statically and dynamically, and what landmarks can we reach in terms of achievements in physics and race times.

What is the significance of this project?

Electric vehicles are an emerging technology, and will continue to increase in the automotive industry. Education and learning this new tech are important, and this is the start of a new generation of racing. We are working hard to create a formula SAE electric race car that pushes the limits of electric drivetrains in this specific application. If successful, this technology could rival the performance of combustion race cars, and could be powered entirely by American made renewable energy made locally or regionally.
Racing is one of the most demanding scenarios possible for a car and all of its systems. If a student-built race car can endure high power draws, extreme heating of the motor, controller, batteries and electronics, and still work well, this will prove electric drive vehicles to be a durable, reliable option.

What are the goals of the project?

The funds will be used towards the registration fee, low voltage electronics, a charger, chassis, suspension, and more.
We already have a formula combustion race car and trailer, so transportation costs are not significantly increased by having a second race car.

We've been fortunate to have some generous sponsors get us part of the way there, but still require some significant funding for an entire race car.


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We have a small racing team, and set a modest fundraising goal that would get us close to covering all costs. The registration fee, DC/DC converter, circular steel tube for the chassis, suspension, wheels and tires, carbon fiber body, insulation monitoring device, and battery management system will total approximately $8000 to $10,000.

Meet the Team

Quinn Sullivan
Quinn Sullivan

Team Bio

Portland State University graduate student studying electrical engineering. Experience in converting gas vehicles to electric vehicles, electric vehicle advocate.

Quinn Sullivan

Portland State University graduate student studying electrical engineering. Experience in converting gas vehicles to electric vehicles, electric vehicle advocate.

Additional Information


Project Backers

  • 24Backers
  • 102%Funded
  • $5,110Total Donations
  • $212.92Average Donation
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