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Internal combustion vs. electric powertrains: a comparison of electrical system design in formula student vehicles

TUfast Racing Team – the Formula Student Team of the Technical University of Munich – is one of only a few formula student teams worldwide to build both an internal combustion engine (ICE) and a fully electric race car annually. Thus are well positioned to make firsthand comparisons between the two types of vehicles.

This paper analyzes the key differences, main challenges and potential of electrical system designs for Formula Student Electric (FSE) in comparison to Formula Student Combustion (FSC) cars, using the specific example of the TUfast Racing Team cars. Also described are the various development tools which helped significantly in the design and development of efficient electrical systems in our vehicles. Finally, the potential of knowledge transfer from Formula Student to commercial EVs is discussed from the view of a Formula Student engineering student.