Working with new technologies in Team Bath Racing Electric
Stefano Dallavalle tells us about being Project Manager of Team Bath Racing Electric.
Due to advances in electric motors and battery technology, the development of TBRe cars over the coming years is set to change significantly, meaning a fresh and exciting challenge year on year.
Each year, Team Bath Racing Electric (TBRe) design, test and build an electric car to race in the IMechE formula student competition at Silverstone.
The team is made up of students from across the Faculty of Engineering & Design. They aim to be the top UK electric car in the competition this July. But for Stefano there have already been many successes on the road to Silverstone: "The most rewarding part of being involved in TBRe are the small achievements each and every day. Whether it's the successful first test of our motor, the finalised design of a new system, the confirmation of a new sponsor or seeing new members of the team get involved."
An opportunity to work across disciplines
Students begin working on the design of the car in their third year as part of their group business and design project. This design is realised in their final year when they build and test the car in preparation for competition. The project is a collaborative effort between students from mechanical and electrical disciplines who are interested in sustainable technologies and racing.
"There is a role for everyone at TBRe! The 2017 team includes everyone from first to final year students with varying levels of commitment and technical knowledge. You can develop into a next generation automotive engineer while benefiting from a fun and rewarding team environment. For me, joining TBRe was an opportunity to be part of a new and exciting project at a time when electric vehicle technology is growing in popularity across the world."
Developing skills to help you stand out in the job market
During the competition, the car goes through technical tests for speed, acceleration and balance. The team must also present a viable business case to a panel of judges. TBRe has sub-teams working on technical projects such as electrical systems, suspension, ergonomics and powertrain, as well as business and media. Stefano oversees all these different aspects: "My role as Project Manager is to ensure that the project is well resourced, on schedule and free of any issues that might delay or disrupt the progress of the team.
"I am responsible for team finances, from attracting new sponsors and partners to managing the team budget. I also manage the business team which is responsible for all non-technical aspects of the project. These may include growing TBRe's social media presence or preparing the business plan and presentations. It's a varied job and involves communication with all areas of the team. This allows the engineering managers to focus on the technical details of the car."
"Throughout the project, I've taken on great responsibility and gone beyond the requirements of my degree. The project management skills I have gained through this experience will no doubt be an asset to me after graduation. Developing engineering and business skills in a team environment like TBRe ultimately sets students apart in industry. Working as part of a mixed discipline team of motivated and determined students with a common goal has made me a well-rounded engineer."